Lately, an alarming trend seems to have taken over the social media. Calling it a trend in itself is disturbing, but these incidents that I came across make me wonder if we can call it by any other name!
You may have heard/read about the young lawyer who tried capturing her suicide on camera before being persuaded to safety. You may also have read about the 24 year old man who live-streamed his suicide on social media before jumping off the 19th floor of a Mumbai hotel, and, most recently, the news of a marathi film producer posting a suicide note on Facebook before ending his life. He mentioned his inability to endure the mental and physical torture by his wife and in-laws after his film failed to rake in any moolah (read flopped).
Horrendous is the word I will use to describe these incidents, and pitiful the stories of the victims. For in a world where everybody is in a rat race, vying to outdo the other by showing off what a perfect life one leads on the social media, people are now using the very same platform to share their wretched real life stories before pulling the plug! It gives us a fair idea about the life we actually lead irrespective of what we brag about on camera! It also gives us a clear picture of how lonely life is fast becoming, despite the thousands of friends we may boast about.
It’s a scary metamorphosis our life is going through. There was a time, not long ago, when we guarded our private lives like a treasure. The story of our life – good, bad, ugly – was shared only with our closest friends/family members. These were the people who knew the wonderful as well as the unpleasant stories of our lives. But, today, all we do, is put on display the seemingly picture-perfect lives we live, hide the scars that life gives us, and give the world a peep into our sorrowful lives only before we jump off the ledge.
There are some questions that bother me as I look at these woeful scenarios. Firstly, why are we becoming this pretentious bunch of show-offs and what are we gaining from this exhibitionism? What do we achieve by sharing these picture-perfect moments of our private lives with a world which actually doesn’t even care after clicking the ‘Like’ button? And, if we are so obsessed with showing off the perfect lives we lead, then why are we, on the other hand, sharing the equally wretched moments of our lives that push us to the brink, instead of asking for help?
What is it that we fear? Are we afraid to expose our miseries to our people? Or, are we too scared to be turned down because each one is fighting a battle of his own to even extend their hands in support? The ones, who live-streamed their suicides on social media, were they so tired of fighting a lonely battle that they yearned for attention, but were too scared to ask for it? What did their feeble cry for help really mean? That we have become too busy to care what our people go through, or that we, for all our ostentatiousness, are beyond caring for those who are going through some pathetic times in their lives?
Is life only about the goody-goody stuff that earns us a million likes? Isn’t life also about unhappiness, heartbreak and hardships – times when we need to stand by each other’s side, supporting one another, no judgements passed? Isn’t it also about being able to voice our deepest fears to people who care?
These are so contradictory – these two facets of human nature that are evolving by the day. Despite having a hundred friends, we are gradually becoming a ‘lonely’ species. Or, are we too reluctant to call out for help? The other day, as I sat in my darkened room, clutching my dead pet’s picture in my hands, feeling desperate and lonely, I found myself hesitant to call up my friend for a heart-to-heart talk. I feared I might be burdening her with my sorrows, which may be minuscule as compared to hers. I also wondered if she even cared/was too concerned about her life to even call up and find out why I hadn’t gotten in touch with her in a long time, except sharing inane jokes on Whatsapp! It was only later, after I spoke with her, that I realised that she does care about me a lot, and that I had been only feeding my worst fears – something that we all do during the loneliest moments in our life.
The dreadful thoughts that crossed my mind that day make me wonder – what are we turning into? Couple days ago, I shared a happy picture of myself and my spouse on Instagram, and now, here I was, reluctant to share the dark, scary moments that actually needed to be talked about!
We really need help. But, are we going to ask for it?
I hope we do.