Digital graveyards and shifting gears

I know I am way behind schedule on the promised train songs blog post, but as they say, life happens while you are making plans.

Last week, life, in the form of the final days and then the passing on of a beloved school Principal put all other writing thoughts out of my mind. My school group was full of reminiscences; over 2000 people read my blog post in tribute to her; many old school photos and stories were swapped, schooldays revisited and then last Saturday we attended a memorial.

Life continued through the week of course, as it must, and we had a family get together and caught up with some TV series on Netflix over the weekend and went out for meals and had some good laughs. Despite all that I was a bit startled when the first naughty joke found its way to my school group yesterday.

The black veil had been lifted.

It made me wonder. How long does one mourn on social media, really? In the earlier days of course people took months to grieve and process and recover. Perhaps in an informal way we still do. We may not wear black clothes or even a black band but somewhere inside the heart there is a corner that is still holding safe some precious memories, some sorrow and a sense of bereavement. We may not need or have the time to spare for the elaborate and visible mourning of the past anymore but has that really changed the need of the human mind and heart to deal with such things at its own pace?

No judgement at all on those who can move on fast–surely it reflects not so much an indifference but a capacity to deal with such emotions better. In fact, thank you to whoever posted that joke and startled me out of my zone!

It seems that 1,20,000 people die every single day.

So, how soon is it before people delete a contact who is no longer alive? I have found myself unable to do so! It is almost as though I would be betraying the memory or their place in my life if they are not only not on this planet but also missing from my phone book ! It is good to come upon these names while scrolling for someone else, and have a fleeting reminder of their existence in your life.

I was wondering if these are my own weird ‘rules for the dead’ and am I alone in maintaining these tiny digital graveyards, so I searched on the internet and no surprise–of course I am not alone J !

People are holding on to grandpa’s phone numbers, text messages from dad, voicemails from mom and so much more.

People are constantly dealing with letting go in very intense and personal ways

In fact, someone has done an in- depth study on a far out premise that there will come a time when dead people will outnumber the living ones on Facebook.

It seems that some people have even made shrines out of FB pages belonging to someone who is no longer alive and keep posting on them and tagging them because they can’t let go.

If you have been watching Black Mirror you will remember that the few stand out episodes involve re- creating the dead from memories, erasing memories as a method of punishment, and recording ‘edited’ memories as a sure way to destroy relationships. With the enormous digital footprints we are leaving every day, much of it does not sound like a dystopian far away future but a very possible tomorrow.

What makes me ‘me’ is in many ways my memories of who I was and who I am and the journey from who I was to who I am.

I guess what we most fear about death is not knowing what happens next. And maybe holding on to the memories of those who have passed on is our way of hoping that someone somewhere will hold on to us after we have moved on and have no earthly existence any more. Living on in a tiny digital graveyard somewhere in cyberspace……

So, (although I was wondering if even this article is too soon after the tribute !), in the interest of shifting gears here is a funny cartoon 🙂

death FB


And the next post will be the long promised one on trains in Bollywood !



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