Saving Private Twit

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Saving Private Twit

Saving Private Twit

Brian Fernandes   ¦    Jun 01, 2021 02:44:40 PM (IST)

Saving Private Twit-1

This time it is a teatime story. Read on

I was by chance privy to a private conversation between my college mate and friend Ajay and his family recently. He had invited me over for a sleepover, now that his elder brother had left the house for the NDA in Pune.

But first, let me give you some background. Ajay's dad, a progressive but strict disciplinarian, was the head of the house and unlike the domestic situation at my place, which was more, shall we say liberal, Ajay lived in a more conservative environment, where generally his father's words showed the way, and either way, always held sway. 

According to Ajay, his dad often took self-well-informed decisions and then put them to debate within the family. With his brother moving out, it was now left to question the decisions and he found it rather difficult because he got no answers, but a reiteration of the decision. His father was also particularly good at ensuring his decision is followed by hook or crook and he was good at both. 

He had recently taken to social media -Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and had just three followers/friends now - His wife, Ajay, and his brother. Both Ajay's mother and his brother were familiar with Facebook and not so familiar with Twitter; they had joined the platforms at his father’s instance.

So, I was over at their house, and it was early evening; teatime; delicious snacks on the table; the shadows were lengthening across their 6th-floor living room and we were all lazing around the hall when Ajay brought up his father’s first and only tweet. He had cryptically tweeted a decision at 8 PM the previous night, "From midnight tonight, no doors, barring the main exit-entry doors to the flat, shall be bolted either from the inside or the outside” Ajay thought it would be a good conversational topic. Besides, the new rule of the house affected him in no small measure! He was, he told me later, also concerned how I would adapt to the rule. After all, I was a guest.

Ajay said," Dad what was that tweet all about? Was that you or did you lift that quote from somewhere?" said Ajay, thinking that his dad was experimenting with Twitter, given it was his first brush with the Twit. Dad said, "it was genuinely mine. I wanted to convey my decision to all of you given our busy lives". Unexpectedly, Mom intervened in the conversation. “What he meant was that privacy in this house shall be reasonably restricted from now on. We have genuine reasons for this rule, and the restrictions are quite reasonable in our opinion."

But Dad, Ajay butted in, "Even the Bathroom door? Dad said calmly, "Yes, even the bathroom door."

Now Ajay was visibly upset. He should not have been, given his status in the house. “What is the logic in that? Aren’t we entitled to some privacy? Ajay asked.  Don’t you know that the Supreme Court has made Privacy a fundamental right, and any invasion of the same, is subject to legal action? It’s even a human right according to Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy"

Given his experience of these debates, he knew two things – one, he had crossed a very thin line – you must not question Dad’s decisions, and secondly, he would not get an answer, but his dad would dig his heels in and reiterate his decision. Ajay did not even have the support of his brother now.

Unexpectedly, Dad took up the gauntlet! He said, "the Supreme court says it is a fundamental right but is subject to reasonable restrictions. I have not asked you to keep the door open now, have I? I’ve only asked you to keep it unbolted so that if there is a doubt about your activities, I or your mother can check in on them with or without your consent. Is that not reasonable”, he reasoned, calmly.

I heard Ajay mutter under his breath, "a reasonable lawmaker, judge, and executioner, all rolled into one". I kept very still, but his dad had not heard him.

Ajay knew he was fighting a losing battle, but he carried on bravely. “What can we do behind bolted doors when you are breathing down our neck 24x7 now that you work from home, and are always awake and vigilant - at least 18 hours a day? Ajay asked.  Then there's Mom too monitoring my activities. Her friends too. And you cannot know what I do when I go out? So, what is the use. You’ve got to learn to trust me”.

Now Ajay knew he had crossed well and truly into the opponent’s half. He had even entered the D. Trust was not a word used in the house, at least not that he had heard of... But Dad surprisingly, was in a spirited mood today – He had become a Twitterati!

“Who knows, dump someone, dump on someone while taking a dump? Let the water flow unnecessarily, it might flood the flat and affect the whole building, keep the geyser on, when not necessary, occupy space with an intention to deprive needy brethren of the same, incite others through secret correspondence from your laptop or phone, I don’t know.  They might affect our security and peace of mind”. But this is only a preventive measure. So, there's nothing to worry about is there"? he countered.

Ajay was stumped and tried to draw me into the conversation looking for support! Forgetting (or recalling?) for a moment that I was even in the room he said, “we have guests here who may not be comfortable with that kind of a rule".

Ajay's dad ignored me, and looked at him sternly, "It’s our house, if he cannot follow our rules, he need not stay. But then he will miss out on Mum's lovely chicken dinner this evening, and your math tuition to him. It’s up to him."

I decided I had to say something, but I had to be diplomatic if I wanted to stay back! I knew which side my bread was Amulled!

I was sure Ajay's Dad had been manipulated into putting out this rule - he had these advisors with whom he discussed most everything during his morning walk in the park, else, he must have been pricked by something he saw or heard in the house or a combination of the two. But I could not really tell him that - I would have been chased out of the house. So, all I said was, – and I thought they were real words of wisdom after I said them - "Uncle, what is public is not private, and what is private, must be public, except for the privates. Publicity is right, and is you'r right!" I sounded reasonably unrestricted I thought.

Ajay later told me that all his unrestricted activities behind closed doors, have been reasonably restricted, and he did not want to be unreasonable - he could not really - it was his father's house.

My sleepover was uneventful – nobody pushed the door open though that fear was always there. But I comforted myself with the thought that I was being unreasonable and carried on…

Disclaimer

This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it's purely coincidental.

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