Killer selfies : Mumbai says freeze
Selfies kill people, apparently. Or maybe people kill themselves in pursuit of the perfect selfie. To lay down ones life in the pursuit of perfection – might sound mighty grand by itself. But to be hit by a speeding train because someone thought it prudent to attempt such a selfie? That is not an act that would leave you proud. It would leave you dead. Very dead.
The need to be accepted, the need to be appreciated and the wish to gain ‘viral’ popularity levels seems to be driving people, espcially youngsters, to attempt a lot of crazy stunts. There have been multiple instances, in India, of people plunging to their deaths from atop rocks and dams while attempting the perfect selfie. Be it beaches or hills, youngsters armed with ‘smart’phones held at an arms length seem to be able to turn any innocuous spot into a potential death trap.
With the number of selfie-deaths on the rise, the authorities in Mumbai have had to take steps and declare sixteen spots across the city to be ‘no-selfie zones’. These include several popular tourist spots along the coastline.
India leads the tally globally when it comes to selfie driven deaths. 19 out of 49 such recorded accidents have reportedly happened in India. A woman at Mumbai’s Bandstand Fort, a student at Kolli hills in Tamilnadu, two students on a class picnic at Nashik, three students on their way to Taj Mahal and many more – all of them aged between 18 and 22. Does this have to be attributed to some complex psychological need for attention, or to plain carelessness? Whatever be the reason, it does seem extraordinarily trifle a reason to be losing a life over. And if the potential victims aren’t going to ‘open their eyes’ to the perils of an adventerous selfie, the authorities are left with no choice than to enforce rules that discourage such carelessness. If you’re caught venturing into off-limits areas or attempting a picture in a no-selfie zone in Mumbai, you could be fined up to Rs. 1200. The city police has conducted surveys to identify potential problem areas, and also plan to carry out awareness campaigns. Such ‘selfie-safety’ camapaigns have been conducted in several cities across the world. Although neither the threat of jail nor the fear of death seems to surmount the need for a ‘thrilling’ selfie. In Mumbai too, despite clear signages having been installed in prohibited areas, people continue to be …well, people. It looks like our smartphones will have to turn a lot smarter to ensure their owners don’t get themselves into trouble.
Let’s hope photographs continue to remain what they’re meant to be – happy moments. And that no more souls are lost forever in the little pixel screen they’re staring into, oblivious to the world around them.
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