27 July, 2021

A Quiet Day In Heaven

Death hasn’t left their Facebook walls blank, it’s kept alive by friends

Illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
A Quiet Day In Heaven

‘HEY angel...happy birthday :)!!! Take care, be good...I don’t want any complaints this year...!!!’ Add to that scores more messages, virtual pink marzipan cakes and bear-hugs and you have a quintessential Facebook wall, one that any twentysomething would be proud of. Only here, the birthday wishes sit awkwardly next to “rest in peace” messages.

Two years after her death, TV journalist Soumya Viswanathan’s wall is still bustling with daily, sometimes even hourly, posts from friends and family who keep coming back to her profile page to share not just their grief but also to update her about their own lives. So, they write about new jobs and promotions and tag her in their photos, undeterred by the fact that she will never actually read or see them.

It’s a sentiment shared by most friends of Syeda Shagufta Ali, who passed away in September this year. Her childhood friend, Satya Bikram Ghosh, an IT professional from Bangalore, responded to the news of her death with an emotional...

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