Annoying, right? Now, imagine, someone is watching you and reading along with you. How do you feel? Frustrated, right?
As human beings, although we are social animals, we also want our space and privacy to be respected. In fact, we don’t just want it; we need it. But whenever someone talks about privacy, it is assumed that he/she/they are talking about engaging in some sexual encounter. Yes, we do need privacy to be intimate with our partners but it is not limited to physical intimacy.
Every person knows what they are comfortable sharing and what they would like to keep private. When someone tries to get into this ‘private’ space without our knowledge or permission, they’re denying us our privacy. This could be our friends, romantic partners, parents, family members, neighbours, teachers, and even big companies or governments.
For example, being “watched” while bathing is a privacy issue. Denying the space to text your friend without being “watched” by those application developers who’ve built the platform is also a privacy issue. However, surprisingly, the need for privacy is never discussed as a top priority. This is strange because privacy is an integral part of everyone’s mental health (Think about the stress you feel when the bolt of your bathroom door is not working properly!). Uncomfortable, isn’t it?
So, why is it hard to find the privacy we all deserve?
If you grew up in the 90s, you would have observed a stark contrast between Indian and other cultures through television. While the teens in American TV shows and movies had a room of their own, Indian shows/movies had young people being surrounded by family. For a long time, in India prevailed a collectivist culture where joint families were the only norm. The pros of a well-knit joint family are undeniable with individuals finding a sense of community and harmony but on the contrary, collectivist cultures can sometimes suppress individuality. In the last decade or so, though, nuclear families and influence of other liberal and individualistic societies, the rights and ideas of an individual are slowly getting the attention they deserve. Although, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee the privacy we all deserve. Understanding the need for privacy becomes crucial. It’s only our understanding which can determine the behaviour to provide space to others around us.
It’s hard to find privacy in a country where poverty is a major problem. And if you happen to live in a metro city like Mumbai, the real estate prices hit the roof (pun intended). Whether you live with your parents or with your roommates, you will hardly find space. This problem can be solved with some innovative solutions. Like in MTV Nishedh, for example, Shivam Patil as Manav has an idea of providing some private space for the youngsters. Budding entrepreneurs, are you reading this?
For a lot of Indian parents, their children are an extension of themselves and hence, they are overprotective about them. They fear that if their children get more space and more privacy, they might end up doing something jisse unki naak kat jaayegi. What if my daughter engages in premarital sex? What if she ends up getting pregnant before marriage? What if your son invites a friend to his room and contracts TB?
And if you rebel against all of this and get a room of your own? They will place an idol in your room so that you won’t do anything “sinful” . Tauba tauba.
So, how do you make sure you are not invading someone’s private space?
Our behaviour can be determined by understanding the subject of privacy! Like any other human, as you understand your own need for space better than someone else – Imagine yourself in a situation, and then imagine if someone else was interfering, would you like it? No right? Then why do it to others?
Being understanding and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes could stop you from entering someone else’s private space. Not only that, it could also help you attain the respected privacy you deserve.
As simple as the saying goes – “Live and Let Live”
And, as far as this goes ..
If you managed to read this blog post without someone watching you read this, then congratulations, you have some privacy in your life! And if in the future, we don’t have artificially intelligent beings reading our thoughts, we should congratulate ourselves for understanding the importance of privacy.