Beware. Our private spaces are under attack and shrinking. And most of us don’t even know it. For those who are wondering what private spaces are, they are spaces we leave around a person where he can stand, sit, sleep or think without people hovering inches away and making them uncomfortable.
We are not used to such blatant intimacy. Yes, there are times when we develop temporary intimacies with strangers, intimacies we do not share with even our spouses, under forced circumstances like on crowded local trains, buses, concerts, etc. Thankfully, our temporary partners release us when spaces free up.
(Of course one finds oddballs who cling on to us after everyone gets off and we may need the police to peel them off.) This article, however, is not about such spaces. There are other spaces where we are under attack and the law does not protect us.
The private ear space for instance. By definition, ear space is the minimum volume of sound required within a given space for the person who needs to hear it. For example, if one gets a call in a crowded bus one must speak only as loudly as necessary for the other person over the phone to hear, and not across real-time distances which could be as far as 500 kms away.
Or when in a tranquil park one must use earphones to listen to their lousy playlist of songs without mutilating everybody else’s ear space with blaring phones. Or private functions where only the congregation needs to hear about their boring goings on and not their ancestors in heaven. With no laws to protect our ear spaces, we are subjected to loud volumes that drown out what we want to listen to. We feel violated. In the ear, no less. Who likes that?
Similarly strong odours and perfumes batter our noses every day. We need laws that specify that the odour and perfume must not go past the near and dear of those wearing it. If a person douches herself in a ton of tacky perfume and leaves it trailing behind to pound my senses senseless for the next half an hour after her departure, it’s hardly fair, right?
I don’t like her, or her perfume, but her perfume overpowers my nose, and worse, tramples on the subtle perfumes I like! The law must state that only if I voluntarily go near the person, must that perfume reach me. Perfumes evoke strong emotions and people could end up being traumatised for life with even a faint hint of such emotions.
Our eyes are ambushed relentlessly by visuals that pop up in the most unexpected ways. I saw a picture on FB last year that popped up and haunted me for a whole year. Not to mention pictures and videos of people, their clothes, behaviour, health issues, etc. I frequently wake up screaming at night and wish that my eyes had not witnessed those ghastly sights.
So there you see, all our senses – touch, smell, sight, taste and sound – are under attack from an insidious group of people who seem to believe they are doing us a favour while actually violating our senses. It’s high time we got some laws to protect us. The erudite and nitpicky reader may point out and say, where have you covered taste? Ah, but this is all about bad taste right? So that’s covered too.
By: Harimohan Paruvu