Sunday, 29 November 2015

2015 : A Space Odyssey

Of course we all need our space. Anybody squeezed into the middle seat on an aircraft will tell you that. Particularly if he happens to be squeezed between Oliver Hardy and Hulk Hogan!

I first realised I needed space when appearing for my Part `B’ exam, and the guy behind me kept kicking me on my calf, wanting to know the full form of the acronym LASER. I tried to stage whisper `Light Amplification by Simulated..’ but he cut me off with a `Chhod yaar, zara multiple choice bata!

He happened to be my neighbour, and had burnt the midnight oil in gallons preparing for the exam, while I had spent the hours pacifying a wailing, bawling six month old daughter! So one would have thought it would have been me seeking his help, but then he was a true blue Infantryman!

Growing up in a household of five siblings in two rooms, space was not a luxury one could even think of. And I’m sure that if I had ever asked my parents for `space’ they’d have wondered what that was – O ki hunda ae??

So when a precocious 13 year old Cherie puts up a poster on her Facebook page asking for - what else, space - I’m more than delighted! Of course, her dad, the man mountain Sid Khullar is busy rolling up his sleeves, ready to pounce on the first `guy’ who trespasses into the space little Cherie’s screaming for! But that’s another story, dads will always be dads!

Would Sid, I wonder, be tempted into taking a peek into Cherie’s WhatsApp timeline, to `monitor’ the goings on in her life? You know, just in case? Being protective, right? I mean, surely that would be ok? No??

I should think not.

In a similar scenario, I once found I had access to my daughter’s laptop, and she happened to be going through a rough patch. God, how I wanted to protect her! Yet, I had steeled myself, and refrained from taking a peekaboo. If there was something she wanted me to know, I reasoned, she’d tell me herself!

But let’s be honest, that’s more the exception than the rule these days. Suspicious spouses thrive on opportunities to grab smart phones that have been carelessly left lying around, and gleefully pounce upon messages that have been left carelessly undeleted.

The more despicable ones even hire professional hackers to hack into their spouse’s e-mails and chats. The fact that they’re actually killing the very relationship they’re trying to `protect’ is of little consequence to them!

Most of them have a `dog in the manger’ attitude. If not me, then nobody else!

Most of my generation, of course, are technologically challenged. In the days of NSA level snooping, and sophisticated privacy invasion techniques, the simple expedient of passwords, and `touch ids' no longer guarantees you space.

So what’s the solution?

Simple. Either be very careful, or adopt a `hell with you’ attitude to all invasions into your private space! Remember that people will hurt you only if you give them the capacity to do so!

My first advice to little Cherie is, welcome to the real world, my dear! What you ask for is a commodity that’s scarce to come by. These days. But the very fact that you ask for it is heart warming. It gives me hope. It bodes well for the future.

For if you ask for it, you will surely give it to others, will learn to respect it.

And the chest thumping pride with which your dad has posted your plea on his Facebook timeline shows that his heart’s in the right place too!

There’s no denying it. My generation screwed up big time, what we handed over was far from perfect. The generation that followed did a much better job, and I’m sure that when the torch passes on to your lot, things will have improved to an unrecognisable degree!

Take all the space that you want, dear Cherie! For it is in people like you that the future rests, that’s where true salvation lies..

To the future, Onward Ho!!

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