“Gone too soon.”

“Saddened by the loss. RIP.”

“Can’t get over the Shock.”

The passing of a much-loved public figure releases an outpouring of grief on social media and the airwaves. Tears are shed and eulogies delivered, even by folks with only the most tenuous connection with the life of the one who passed. But these days the grief phase seems to swiftly morph into something else altogether. It used to be that one never spoke ill of the dead. Now there seems to be an unseemly trend tilting towards the other end of the spectrum. Rampant speculation springs forth about the tiniest of their flaws, the “real” cause of death, and the “truth” about their seemingly happy lives.

Celebs and public figures are different from us, and we often cannot grasp quite why. Maybe such occasions give us an opportunity to reassure ourselves that all that separates them from us is a willingness to give in to these flaws, to take those risks that we could not take, to sacrifice happiness in the quest for fame and fortune… This is a chance for us to say, “I always knew she couldn’t look like that naturally. She had too much plastic surgery”; “He was miserable in real life and drank heavily.” And so on…

No sooner does the person become a “body”, the “pedestal” they were put on by us in their lifetime, gets dismantled. The aim may be to humanize the tragedy for the masses but it ends up dehumanizing the soul that departed. And all the English Vinglish in the dictionary cannot change that once it happens.