Death, we’ll never know what happens to us after that, except that our body withers away, just like autumn leaves that fall from a tree and turn into dust.
I don’t think too often about it, but sometimes, a memory from the past can knock out of nowhere and remind you of it. Maybe memories aren’t the only catalyst, there is so much death surrounding us, the newspapers are full of it, suicide bombings, plane crashes, deliberate murders, shocking massacres and what not. Millions are dying everyday, some literally and some… well, some die every day again and again… if you know what I mean.
And an article made me go deep into thinking. It said that very soon, Facebook would be the largest ‘graveyard’ in the world, that one day, it will have more unused profiles of dead people than those alive and actively using its services. I find it disturbing.
I have always found it disturbing, that those who die, continue to live on in the virtual space and people go and post ‘RIP’ on their profiles. But what is even more disturbing is the fact that some do not stop at that. There are people who know passwords of those dead and continue using their profiles now and then. I kid you not. People do that. They talk to people from ‘dead’ profiles.
People tag the dead on life events, in random memories and while posting passing thoughts and while most people probably find it normal, I do not. It’s okay to remember a dead person but its another thing to tag them in a post: I am having our favourite coffee and I miss you so much, with – dead person tagged.
Here is a possible negative outcome to that, when you tag the dead, everybody in their profile will see that post, those who are very emotional and struggling to move on, may find it overwhelming and break down. Some people do not want to be reminded about the dead. It makes them uncomfortable, sad, depressed, angry or maybe other things.
Although and I know its terrible to say this, there are a few people who do it for gratification. I will give you an example from literature. Let’s take Anita Desai’s Voices in the City as an illustration, the novel is about three siblings living in an Indian city at a time when the country is transitioning to being modern and how the urban dingy city is almost like a monster, stifling them. These three adults are struggling to find their feet and one of them commits suicide. The mother, who was an all caring figure up until then, suddenly assumes a goddess like pride, because she has lost something, a daughter. She can now assume the role of a tragic heroine and be aloof from the world and look down upon it.
“Look at you, what have you seen in life? I have lost a daughter, what have you lost? Can anything be worse for a mother,” her demeanor seems to be asking. And for me that seems to be the ultimate theme of the book, even if its fleeting, that some people take pride in loss and in suffering, they wear it like badges. And Facebook now gives them a platform to scream out their loss.
I am going to say something terrible now. I have deleted dead people from my account. A friend asked me once, ‘aren’t you abandoning the dead’, I don’t know if it was in sarcasm or in real distress.
How can we possibly abandon the dead? It’s the dead who abandon us, while we continue living.