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All for a cuddle!


By Pooja Marwah

One of the fun facts of growing a day older each day is to realise that the day is meant to be enjoyed. Even though traces of mundanities seep in, there is always something new that each day offers, if you look close enough.

I am aware that most of you already know but for information’s sake, I can’t resist sharing about Tokyo’s famous cuddle cafés. Sure, this ain’t for the faint at heart but it is something intriguing and sinlessly calming. Like there are cafés for beverages, books and music… Japan’s innovation of the Cuddle café arose due to the decreasing oxytocin levels in its citizens. As much as you may want to shrug off the hormonal imbalance and the weirdness of the concept, I strangely found it amusing…

How on earth can one go to a café and get on a couch to cuddle with a random person? At the onset, it appears to be an OH MY GOD exclamation but once the dramatics cool down, it is more like hmm… sounds crazy but maybe there are people out there who are plain lonely and need the warm feeling of a hug – a purely platonic one.

Who am I to judge anyway?

Japan is known for its innovations as well as its life philosophies. One of the largest religions practiced in the world today stems from their belief in the Buddhist chants. The reverberating sounds that fill up rooms with their melody… the kintsugi and the ikigai, the concepts of Arigato and Zazen to name a few. So, needless to say that, when the platonic cuddle café was added to the cultural scene, it was accepted with open arms.

We can delve into the deeper fact of how weird or random it is. We can discuss the plight of the people that visit them to curb their loneliness or we can accept it as a need for some and move on.

Platonic friendships are rare but not unheard of. Rare is not because a man and woman cannot be friends without the physical intimacy creeping in, but rare because of another person’s mindset of how it should be.

We live in the 21st century and the speed with which time is slipping us by, we spend too much time analysing someone else’s situation. It is perfectly healthy for two people of the opposite sex to be friends. There is a reason why commitments are either distancing or separating away and the primary core of it is the lack of acceptance.

We accept Japan’s beliefs and try and incorporate them but when it comes to their openness of a touch, we are the first to arch our eyebrows and dissect it to a level that it comes across as a shady room for shadier things.

But in reality it is just a café wherein you can get the comfort or solace of being held close when you need it the most.

It all boils down to the manner in which the brain functions. And we only use 10% of it. In that miniscule proportion, we end up creating havoc and causing damage to the ones around us. Relationships in the world today are so fragmented… not because there is familiarity but because there is a severe lack of acceptance.

Embracing change is perhaps the only way to move ahead in life. It may or may not be something you are attuned with but to be able to look at it with an open perspective, will give you more peace of mind than anything else.

A cuddle café may not be something down your alley or mine but it exists, for there is a need for it and it is best left at that.

(Pooja Poddar Marwah is an award winning author and Blogger. She writes on contemporary living and offers incisive reflections on the world around us. Her blog, Random Conversations is a go to guide to deal with the myriad struggles we face each day.)