I have always been scared of death, I won’t lie. But now it has become scarier. If earlier, the fear was of leaving behind my little world ever since I found my family, and all the things that I’ve wanted to finish and accomplish, now the fear is of a different kind. I’m terrified to die because I’m terrified of the character assassination that will come my way post my death. Not just my way, but my poor darling, Hari’s too.

You might be wondering if I have totally lost my marbles, reading through this rambling. I guess I have, to be very honest. And I didn’t lose my sanity just like that. I lost my sanity because I never listen to myself and for no reason, go through the comments section under news pieces that come up on social media. For that I have no one but myself to blame. Every time I read through the comments section filled with venom, I tell myself, ‘Never again.’ And then, as if to see if mankind has redeemed itself at least a little, or if it has stooped to yet a lower level – I don’t know – I go back to the comments section of the next news piece. I’m left disappointed, every single time, invariably. Because although it might sound impossible, our race is proving that there is no limit to the kind of evil that we happily radiate.

In the past couple of years, the most devilish comments I’ve seen have been under news pieces of someone’s death. The kind of speculation, conspiracy theories, and classless discussions that you see are mind-boggling, to say the least. And in almost every case, no matter what the cause of death, no matter how straight forward and uncontroversial the news is, no matter how tragic the loss of life is and the plight of the loved ones left to mourn the void left by one of them – the comments are always nothing short of pure evil.

The most basic thread that runs through these comments is a blatant, not in any way subtle, character assassination of the deceased, and/or the partner of the deceased. As is the norm, majority of the victims of character assassination online are women, at least in my personal experience.

If someone has committed suicide, and even if there is absolutely no mention of the reason, ‘Aha! She must have had an affair. Good riddance! These whores need to die!’ or ‘Her husband must have had an affair. He should die.’

If someone was found dead in their room, ‘They are saying natural causes. But she must have committed suicide because of some fishy business, most probably an affair’ or ‘Her husband must have killed her. Look how well he is acting out his grief.’

If a girl is killed by a guy whose advances she has rejected or who she has broken up with, ‘This should be a lesson to all the girls who play with the feelings of guys. Serves you right!’ or ‘Girls should study when they are sent to school or college, instead of getting into relationships. Serves these girls right, and their parents who failed to give them a proper upbringing too.’

If a woman whose husband works abroad has died, inevitably, ‘No doubt she was having goings on with some other man. Good for the kids that they don’t have to live with this slut of a mother anymore.’

If someone has died in an accident, ‘Surely, they were driving under the influence. Jerks like this should die’ or ‘Coming after a birthday celebration? Definitely stoned or drunk. Must have been MDMA.’

If someone rich has died, ‘Ha! How did your millions help you now? You kept making money all your life. Good that your life ended like this’ or ‘This is news only because the dead guy is rich. What about all the poor people who die every day? Stop giving jerks like these any importance.’

In short, you can die in whichever way God has decided for your life to end. But these idiots will find some way or the other to spin a whole sensational story around it and make you and/or your partner look like the bad guy who deserved a painful death. You could be a saint for all I know, but these guys will make you look like a characterless, heartless brute or vamp. How the hell can one in ‘rest in peace?’ Seriously!

Since I know for sure that I would still be scrolling through social media even from the other world, and such comments under news of my passing could be enough for me to come back and unleash a full-on haunting spree, I have asked Hari to make sure that whenever I die, I don’t want my photo or the news of my death published anywhere. At least that way, whatever little good name I have managed to make for myself, despite all my flaws, can be preserved even after I’m gone – I hope.

Also published on Medium.