No one's home: the fabled privacy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 12, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 12, 2019

No one's home: the fabled privacy

Bashay keo nai!

How many good times can you think of that started with that exclamation alone? If the answer is many, well you are in the right place. If not, well, stick around anyway because why not read up on what you missed out on.

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In our deshi lives, the word privacy is something you hear of in English movies, many of which your mum probably did not let you watch anyway. I wondered how important it was, seeing as how characters in those movies fought so hard for it. If I even thought of bringing up these 'issues,' I would be greeted with a flying sandal before I could get out half the word.

Let's delve deeper.

We all know and are mostly vocal about privacy when it comes to online or Facebook privacy. Yet, the fact that our rooms should also be subjected to the same privacy does not even register.


Simple, over here, the concept that our rooms should be our sanctuary, a place to have some privacy, is a very alien concept. Heck, in many homes you are not even allowed to close, let alone lock the door! Because of this, when a friend or two come over, you are usually under surveillance, be it the obvious or stealthy kind.

This same lack of privacy also effects the way you communicate with people too. While I cannot say how parents are snooping in the digital age (craning their necks in any angle just to get a glimpse of your screen comes immediately to mind), but back when I was growing up, phone calls were handed to me in two ways — if it was a guy, the phone would be given to me in a casual manner, but asked to keep things brief, and by brief, I mean 5 minutes. If, by any unlucky chance it was a girl, I would see mum turn into a face of pure evil and destruction, contorting further as the call progressed. 

In school, you are supposed to learn to be around different kinds of people, helping build social skills for the rest of life's journey. But chances are, the adults just want you hanging around people whose heads are in their text books. Guess what? When you grow up, your ability to socialise is then limited and everyone else feels like a freak.

And then of course, there is the uber taboo concept of dating in Bangladesh. How many people do you know who have actually had a mature conversation with their parents about a person they may be seeing? The most likely answer is none, or one! The general placation we are given is, 'Only when you are in university,' and in more sexist cases, 'when you are married,' along with 'we will find someone for you to marry only when the time is right.' You can definitely forget about bringing your significant other home.

Is it too much to ask to be able to spend some quality time in the confines of our own rooms, without ringing the doors of Satan, for even Pg13 activities?

You know how expensive it is to constantly go out to eat, and going to the theatre, or something else to just spend some time together. No wonder the population is getting fatter and broke-r these days!

Like charity, privacy should also begin at home. I, along with the generations before me, have come from a life where privacy was just some word in a dictionary. And most of our stories are similar– never had our own room until we were in our late '20s, no door closing policy, phone monitoring, cherry picking friends, chaperoned everywhere, and of course, not allowed to date.

Do you see why the phrase 'Bashay keo nai' is so important to us?

This means when the folks are out, we finally get a taste of life, without all the 'adult-snooping.' We can finally invite more than two friends over, throw a party, talk to our heart's content on the phone, and of course, spend time with a significant other with some take-out and a movie. Heck, it even teaches life skills like cooking and other house responsibilities. As we grow up with the restrictions, we become like those helpless broiler chickens; unsociable with no street smarts, a sad sense of humour ,and of course, no inter-gender skills. Try to set someone like that up for an arranged marriage!

When I say that privacy is a must for balanced growing up, I mean that it is not fun to learn about things in my '30s that I should have learned earlier, except for the incessant meddling.

So parents of tomorrow, take lessons from experience, and heed my wise message; some personal space never hurts!


Photo: Collected

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