Yeah, an Indian court issued a warrant to arrest Richard Gere for... wait for it... kissing Shilpa Shetty, an Indian actress... ON THE CHEEK. It was an 'obscene act'.
Yup. For more 'Please tell me you're kidding' stories read this: Moral Police.
But back to the topic... holding hands.
I remember as a little kid companiably holding my cousin's hand as we walked home from Sunday School. Through most of my childhood, my parents would go on walks with one or more of their kids, and we often held hands as we walked. We're not a super physically affectionate kind of family, but that was one form of affection that was normal to us.
In the West, holding hands is seen as the most innocent of romantic gestures. In India, it is still a big deal. Guys and girls don't commonly hold hands unless they're in a relationship. Actually it's kinda cute, my mum and dad are one of the few married couples I've seen in India holding hands. (Which might get them arrested, but still.)
So what does hand holding really mean? Why hold someone's hand at all? What inspires the Beatles to sing 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' repetitively with almost no other lyrics to keep the song together?
I think it's the human contact. It's a sign of something more. An outward expression of an inner reality. A tangible sign of being loved, understood and WITH another human being. And yet so often, you get the outer sign without the inner reality. And so hand holding has begun to mean less. As have hugs. And kisses. And sex.
Can I tell you the most meaningful and comforting hand holding I have ever experienced?
No, it was not the annoying guy 'friend' who wouldn't take no for an answer and kept holding my hand while my younger inexperienced self tried to figure out the least awkward way of getting out of an awkward situation. (How do you pull your hand away without your actions screaming "I reject you!"? #problemsidonthaveanymore)
It was not a guy at all.
It was my mum. I came home one night weighed down by sadness and disappointment. I casually told my mum and dad what had happened. But then as they gently asked me questions, I began to unburden my heart. In the presence of someone who cared, I allowed the tears to gather and fall. And my mother silently took my hand and listened with love and sympathy. What a sweet, sweet experience of true companionship.
I think that's what every heart craves.