Dear Sridevi, Now We Must Let You Rest In Peace.

Dear Sridevi, Now We Must Let You Rest In Peace.

Malini Agarwal

I read this very dignified and sincere joint statement by the family on Mohit Marwah’s Instagram today and thought to myself; when did we become a society that feeds off of each other’s sadness (often to a horrifying degree) instead of trying to alleviate it? When did it become necessary for people to have to ask for space to grieve? Or implore that the dead actually be allowed to rest in peace?

Now you see I’m in an odd place here, because as a member of the “press” – if that’s where I fall – I am obligated, to some degree, to bring you this news. Whether it’s the glitz and glam of the red carpet or the tragedy or ache of those who pass away. But isn’t it really up to me, how far I take it? I don’t know anymore today if I should be posting pictures of celebrity friends and relatives who came to pay their respects. I don’t know if that’s what you want to see; and even if you do, do you want to see it for the right reasons? I would hope that seeing others share the Kapoor family’s unimaginable grief helps those who are hurting from the shock in some way. But I also do know it is voyeuristic and I’m feeding that appetite.

But just like we have all grieved so much for the loss of those who went before their time, whether it was Parveen Babi or Princess Diana (or Divya Bharti, Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Smita Patil, Jiah Khan or Pratyusha Bannerjee ugh, so many) the fact that they were public figures with legions of fans and loyal supporters, makes it almost impossible for us to grieve alone. As a virtual generation we feel compelled to post eulogies and memories. Outpourings of grief, shock and dismay. Share that awful feeling when your heart literally wants to tear itself out of your flesh from ache and you hope that if you just go to sleep you’ll wake up and it’ll all be a nightmare you shouldn’t have had. Is that voyeuristic too? Or whatever the stuff is that feeds that monster?

I don’t know anymore.

But when I see TV news channels across the nation morphing photos of Sridevi into a bathtub, I am horrified.
When I see a journalist jump clumsily into a tub to “re-enact” the awful accident in an “aha I solved it!” tone of voice, I am disgusted.
When I hear repeated mentions of “traces of alcohol in her blood”, I am infuriated.
When I hear the same recycled information about her husband’s return to surprise her and the absolutely incredulous speculation about his involvement, I shudder with what our “mob mentality” is capable of.
When I see the whatsapp forwards of her last dance, I am heartbroken.
When I see my own Instagram feed filled with two parts sadness and three parts “life goes on-ness”, I am conflicted.
When I hear that her husband has cried inconsolably since her passing, my heart goes out to him.
When I am unable to bring myself to think about what her daughters must be going through, I shut down.

How much of this is ok to talk about? How much is glaringly gruesome to even say out loud? How much is truly helping and healing the heartbroken?

I don’t know anymore.

But I do know this; today by accident in a copy pasted hashtag cloud (no excuses, but it’s what instagrammers do, and I take full responsibility for it) we hashtagged one of our celebrity images “#redcarpet” from the funeral. I was horrified. We all were. We aren’t those people and even if you didn’t notice, it made me think about who we’ve become and how much I have tried to steer clear of that breed of journalism.

So I’m sorry. I’m sorry to those who saw and were hurt, disgusted or dismayed. I’m sorry to those who didn’t realise or didn’t see it. I am sorry because I don’t want to be the kind of media that feeds off other people’s tragedies.

If you ask me what I propose to do about it, or point out other instances you feel we were insensitive, I probably don’t have an answer for you. At least not today. However I can promise you this;

As a member of the press, I and my team pledge to respect and honor the passing of this legend. We will neither speculate nor gossip about any of the circumstances of this tragedy. We are deeply wounded by Sridevi ji’s passing. A horrible and unimaginably devastating loss to the Kapoor family and the entire film industry. We grieve along with you, as do millions of your fans. The least we can do is respect and love her and her family in death as we did in her life. Rest in peace, Sridevi. You deserve it. You remain forever in our hearts.
Our deepest condolences to the entire family. – Malini Agarwal and the entire Team MissMalini.

PS. I hope everyone has the incredible karma to be loved the way Boney Kapoor loved – and will always love – his wife. His life.
He just posted this letter on Twitter from her account. The last sentence of which just shattered my heart into little pieces. God only knows what it did to his.