Explaining Cambridge Analytica To My Amma And Why She Should Argue For Aadhaar In Court
“You like dal chawal and kheer, why do you want to hide that?” Amma asked.
What have they run away with now, what is Data?” Amma asked in frustration.
All the news channels were discussing the Cambridge Analytica row and she was finding this difficult to understand. Unlike other grandmothers who watch daily soaps, my Amma is very fond of 24×7 news channels. She is an encyclopaedia of sorts if you want to know about scams. TwoG, ThreeG, DamaadG, CWG, all scams. For her, Ex-CAG Vinod Rai is as patriotic as the jawans fighting on our western borders. He informed the country about the thousands of crores of rupees that were being stolen from the honest people of India, she would say.
“All patriotic families should have at least 1 kaag in the family,” she said looking pointedly at my brother Sonu.
“Amma, it is CAG, not kaag and like the PM and President, there can be only one CAG in India.”
“I want to see you as kaag before I die,” Amma said. Before the advent of 24×7 news channels, she wanted to see me married and wanted to play with my children before breathing her last.
“Amma you wanted to know about data theft?” Sonu diverted her from the topic of CAG. He wants to become a pilot.
“Yes, what is this new scam that out of power political parties can commit.”
“They stole personal details, like names, profession, friends,” I tried to simplify it for her.
“Why do you want to hide your name? You don’t like your name?”
“Not just our names. They also know who are friends are.” Sonu came to my rescue.
“Are you friends with scamsters?” Amma was worried, being a scamster was the ultimate crime she could imagine. “Why do you want to hide your friends?”
“The scamsters also knew what I liked and disliked,” I was looking for answers.
“You like dal chawal and kheer, why do you want to hide that?” Amma asked after a pause. “I hope you don’t eat anything bad?” Amma refuses to say the word ‘meat’ preferring to call it that ‘sinful’ or ‘bad thing’.
“No Amma I am vegetarian,” I reassured her.
“No, I only drink cow milk.”
“What are you trying to hide then?”
“Why are you questioning me like the CBI?” I asked Amma.
Amma loves the CBI. CBI officers are as truthful as Raja Harishchandra and can dig out the truth in minutes. Amma had missed the ‘episodes’ of news when the courts had referred to the CBI as a caged parrot. She had been visiting relatives when that story was telecast.
“You are confusing me. There is a scam done by people in opposition and there is no money involved, no mention of thousands of crores of rupees,” Amma said impatiently. I wanted to ask her if she had to write an exam on Data theft in the morning. But my love for her kept me from showing my annoyance.
“They were trying to influence people to vote for a particular party by stealing information about people,” I made a last-ditch effort to clear her confusion.
“TV channels do that every day without stealing any information”. She added, “We should be proud of our names, our profession, our friends and family. We hide only what we consider wrong, what we are embarrassed about.”
“Yes Amma”, I said dutifully. They should have my Amma giving the presentation for Aadhaar in courts.
Prerna Jain is a photographer and has published a coffee table book on birds
(This piece was first published on prernasperspective.wordpress.com)