03 July 2010
By M Ramya
Young People To Give Out Free Hugs At Six Spots Across City
Inspired by the Free Hugs Campaign, a global movement started by an Australian known as Juan Mann in 2004, a group of 30 youngsters are all set to dole out free hugs.
Teams of five will position themselves in places where crowds gather – Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar, Ampa Skywalk in Aminjikarai, Spencer Plaza or Pantheon Road in Egmore, Citi Centre in Mylapore, Ispahani Centre in Nungambakkam and at the Anna Nagar Roundtana – with placards that say "Free Hugs". "I am very excited to be a part of campaign. There are times I would have appreciated a hug, even from a perfect stranger," says Manisha, one of group. Each member of the team is pected to hug at least 200 people. The team’s target is reaching out to 10,000 this people in a day.
And no, they are not afraid of being molested. "Crowded places mean we will the have police protection and nobody will ex- mess with us. I have seen a lot of videos of similar campaigns elsewhere in the world and nobody has ever acted up. So I am not afraid of people misbehaving," she says.
Though the global movement has no specific message other than to make people feel better, the Chennai huggers have decided to create awareness on AIDS. "When we went to ask the permission of the police to conduct the ‘hugathon’, the police commissioner asked us why we are doing it. We wanted to make the most of the situation, so we decided to spread the message that AIDS is not contracted by hugging," said coordinator Karthick Sundar. "Spread love. Hug all... AIDS is not spread this way!" is the message that this warm gesture will spread.