1. Kissing in public
A kiss is a simple way to show to the world you love and cherish someone. In India, kissing someone in public can land you in jail, quite literally. Kissing is covered under the Public Indecency act of India and depending on whether the cop who saw you is feeling generous or not, you can either get away with a scolding, or be hauled to the police station and have your parents called over.
2. Being in a Live-in relationship
Not illegal, but being in a live-in relationship is one of the biggest taboos in India. Parents everywhere freak out at the mere thought of young, consenting adults deciding to move in together.
3. Talking about sex
Yes, you read that right. Simply talking about sex can land you in trouble. We Indians like to pretend that sex is something made up by the west to corrupt innocent minds. The censor board of India slash scenes with any nudity, and are quick to make directors bleep our curse words.
4. Anything related to sex, reallyshopping
Sex is a taboo in India. Period. Talking about it, hinting at it, and trying to capture it in words, images or videos is all highly frowned upon.
5. Inter-caste and inter-religion marriages
Marrying outside your community is completely legal in India. We even have a special marriage act to facilitate it. But do so at your own peril. More and more people are finding themselves shut out by their families because they chose to be with someone they love.
6. Smoking and Drinking
Indulging in smoking and drinking is a unique kind of taboo in India. A major portion of the country smokes, or drinks or even both. However, over 90% of those who do, pray to god their parents or relatives never find out. Not just students, even grown up adults have this fear. Remember Shahrukh Khan trying to hide his pack of cigarettes in Swadesh?
7. Eating beef
The beef ban in Maharashtra this month caused a minor scandal on the internet. How can the government tell us what not to eat? That right is only reserved by our parents! Too bad that most Hindu parents would disown their kids if they found out that their child had tasted beef.
8. Dressing how you want
This is a rather major issue in the smaller towns and villages, but even in the biggest cities you can get rather filthy looks if you are a woman and dressed anything but modestly. And by modest we mean traditional Indian clothes. Even wearing a jeans and loose fitting T-shirt in a village or backward area can cause people to shun you and brand you as immoral.
9. Swearing in a public space
The general consensus is that you can be crass and swear all you want as long as you only have friends in the vicinity. When out in public, like a bus or in the hotel, swearing is considered extremely ill mannered. Since there is no hard and fast rule as to what is swearing, even milder words can get you cold looks from those around you.
10. Making your own career decisions
Your parents tell you what you can eat (not beef), they tell you who you can marry (someone from your own community) so they obviously get to tell you what job you should do. Going against their wishes is sacrilege. They will obviously be generous and present you with the incredible choice of becoming a doctor or an engineer. Nice, right?