“Touch” is a beautiful English word. It is used as a verb and also as a noun. Generally we touch a liquid – water, milk, and oil – to see whether it is hot or cold. The touch gives us the feeling of hotness or coldness. Touching with hand is a common practice. We do touch the forehead of a person to see whether he/she has fever. We shake hands with friends and newly introduced people as a mark of affection and friendship. The feeling of touch gives a sort of comfort. In fact, touching a pet animal is a common habit with all of us. The pets feel happy when they are touched and they too try to touch us with their body parts.
‘Touch me not’ is a plant known as Mimosa pudica. If we touch the leaf-lets, they fold and fade automatically. Of course you can touch either with your finger or any other object, the plant responds. Nowadays we have touch screens everywhere. The smart phones, tablet computers, electronic voting machines and automated teller machines (ATMs) are all operated through touch screens. A user can give input or control the information processing system through simple or multi-touch gestures by touching the screen with one or more fingers or a special stylus/pen. I use a stylus instead of my finger to operate my devices because it works like a pen with which I am attached for a very long time in my life.
Apart from the recent developments, ‘finger print’ is one of the oldest signatures used by human beings. Even now to register a land or property, the registrar office uses one’s finger print as the best identification mark. Also finger print is used as passwords in the latest smart phones and tablet computers. Even in Aadhar id. card accounts, our finger print is recorded and stored.
Visually impaired people read a text touching the raised symbols in the Braille book. They touch and read the text. It is one of the most useful things for the visually impaired people. So by touch alone one can learn things.
In sports, one should not touch the ball with hands in a foot ball game. Players touch each other and hug each other as a mark of appreciation. There are songs and books about ‘touch.’ At the same time one has to be very careful in touching others. If we touch a stranger accidentally, we have to say ‘sorry.’
I cannot forget the word ‘untouchables’ in Indian society. It was a social custom prevailed in our society for a very long time. A certain group of people were considered by another group as low caste and they were the untouchables. These untouchables cannot use the streets or wells of the upper caste people. It was unbearable. Many reformers tried to remove this social curse over time. Abolition of untouchability was one of the best policies adopted by the government itself, although still here and there this disease is there.
A caution for everyone finally is: ‘Do not touch a live electric wire.’