By Lata Jha:
A friend often tells me I should write a book on her. All the turmoil she’s gone through, would make for a great book some day, she feels. A lot of us are instantly repulsed by the thought of sharing personal grief, on the other hand. But just because we wouldn’t, or couldn’t do so, does it make it wrong for everyone?
As one hears of people live-tweeting even their mother’s death nowadays, with intimate conversations, emotions, and even the moment of death beamed out to the world, the question is should we pay attention to people screaming for so much of it?
Such acts manage to erase the last boundary between the public and private. No moment, experience, emotion is too intimate or personal to share anymore. Privacy has now become dispensable even in death. So, live tweeting of death could well be a successor to the host of live-tweeted births and delivery room videos and photos shared on Facebook. And it could also be a precursor to live-death videos and photos that will inevitably follow.
But the tricky aspect of privacy is that it is never entirely ours to violate. Did the one about to die give her consent for such information to be ladled out to the world? Didn’t it go from being about her death to a moment for the one who decided to share the news?
But then again, how do we really define the private world? We often tend to process loss in our individual, peculiar, unseemly ways. We wail at funerals, but that doesn’t make us jerks. Maybe it just boils down to how much attention we pay to a stranger asking for it. In a world as symbiotic as ours, no one lives or works in isolation. You get what you give, and vice versa.