When I was woken up by a text from someone who found it imperative to send me, at 8:00 am, the URL of some article he’d written, it struck me that we have a Day for everything but privacy.
There’s a day for every disease, a day for every relative, a day for every mood, a day for every element – earth, space, water, you name it – and a day for every bodily function and impulse. Hell, there’s a Data Protection Day, International Dance Day, Darwin Day, World Consumer Rights Day, Sparrow Day, Secretaries’ Day…the list goes on.
But here are five Days we desperately need:
No Spam Day
Clearly, flooding your Facebook and Twitter timelines as well as your email doesn’t cut it anymore. People must spam you on WhatsApp too, because, hey, what use is a smartphone if you can’t wake up to read their rants without turning on your laptop?
Maybe we should have one day that allows us to exist without having to be assaulted with a series of URLs, and invitations to marches, and urges to take up arms for random social causes. On this one day, people will not be able to add us to groups, or personally send us their pamphlets, leaflets and articles.
No Tagging Day
I thought Facebook tags were bad. I mean, what could be worse than being pinned on to a grammatically incorrect, cheap-looking Diwali or Holi or Christmas or New Year e-card containing a hackneyed message about prosperity and joy? And getting an alert every time someone else who’s tagged posts a comment about prosperity and joy?
Then, I discovered Twitter tags. Long ago, I stopped reading the comments posted below my articles. I figured that anyone capable of coherence rather than insult will be writing articles themselves, not posting comments. But, thanks to Twitter, trolls can now tag me to draw attention to themselves.
No Tagging Day will force all social networks to disband their tagging mechanisms for one day. For 24 hours, we will be troll-free.
No Personal Questions Day
I’m surprised every time a stranger on the street doesn’t stop me to ask, “Why aren’t you married yet?”
So far, I’ve never got through a family cordon without being asked about my job, my plans, my diet, my workout regime, my hair, my salary, and then the big question, which somehow seems to envelope all of this – my perceived resistance to marriage.
“Is there anyone you want to marry? Please tell us! His caste, his religion, his family, nothing matters!” a panicked distant relative, whom I may have been meeting for the second time in my life, cried once.
“I told my parents to choose whomever they wanted for me, I didn’t care whom. You should do the same,” a veteran theatre person told me. To date, I’m not sure whether he was being sarcastic.
“So, are you next in line?” a bunch of geriatrics grin toothlessly, at every wedding I attend.
One of my cousins suggested that I get my own back by nudging them and asking, “So, are you next in line?” at every funeral I attend. Problem is, I go to even fewer funerals than to weddings.
How do you tell people who prophesy that you will “regret this later”, that they should be regretting their lives now? How do you explain that it’s wonderful to be in your later twenties, unemployed, rich and free, with no husband, children or home to look after?
And that’s why we need a No Personal Questions Day.
No Personal Comments Day
When people don’t ask you questions, or offer you unsolicited advice, they do their best to undermine every bit of self-confidence you’ve retained despite the combined efforts of your family. You can’t run into anyone you haven’t met in more than a week, without them staring at you like you’ve just returned from captivity in concentration camp.
“Your eyes are hollow. Are you not getting enough sleep?”
“Are you losing hair? It used to be so thick!”
“Why do you look so pale?”
“Why have you got so dark?”
“Are you not well? Your cheeks are sallow. You’ve lost too much weight.”
“You’ve put on weight.”
“If you could give some of your colour and weight to your cousin, both of you would look normal.” This last observation is accompanied by some random aunt pointing at the scrawny, dusky girl trying to disappear into herself.
No Polite Conversation Day
The motto of the entire subcontinent, the slogan of every political party that ever saw its inception here, could well be: “When you have nothing to talk about, talk about nothing.”Everything from the weather to your grandfather’s job may fall into this bracket.
But, on No Polite Conversation Day, you can actually share a waiting room at the doctor’s office, without exchanging anything more than germs with strangers.