Facebook’s World of the Departed

Have you ever clicked on the tab More that appears along with other tabs such as Timeline, About etc. on the home page of your Facebook?

I did that yesterday and was astonished to see a new submenu under “Groups” called “The Departed”. This sub-menu was blinking as if to invite you to click. We see that this is often done when anything new is introduced to attract attention.

I clicked on this new option.

The “system” took a wee longer and my home page got refreshed with a new scheme of colors. A message then popped up “Welcome to the Facebook’s World of the Departed – Do you want to Login?”

I typed “Y”

And I was in for a surprise.

There was a major change in my homepage. The list of friends I now saw included all my deceased dear ones, whom I missed, loved and respected. I knew that their Facebook pages were still “open” and accessible and now these pages were “dead” and obviously with no “activity”.

But under the new option, these pages were active. These close friends of mine were maintaining their social network even in the “other side” of the world, sending messages to each other, flagging the likes and and posting photos of the future as they could see. I guess these folks could see the future much more clearly as they were not confused like us. We, the living, keep thinking too much about our present and the past and little about the future! That creates a haze.

I got a message from a friend from IIT Bombay who studied with me. We lost him recently due to a massive heart attack.

“Hey Prasad, what happened to you boss? When did you join us?”

“Not yet there my friend, but I am somewhere on my way to see you soon” I responded to him.

I explained to him the new option Facebook has created to access the faces of the departed and socialize.

“Oh, I now understand. So, looks like Facebook finally implemented it. Last month Mark Zuckerberg took an opinion poll and most of us voted for this innovation. It gets boring sometimes and most here miss old friends like you” My friend said.

“The addiction to social networking continues to stay even if you are dead” I said in humor. My friend sent me a smiley

I saw my friend’s collection of photographs of the future. He, being an air pollution specialist, had a collection of photographs of cities – how they would look in the future given the severity of air pollution.

Well, we all know that so much is being talked about urban air pollution, and so much being measured and reported but so little is being done regarding ground level action. I saw in my friends photographs that in most cities, people were moving in masks, skies were grey and gloomy and dedicated hospitals were set up for pulmonary diseases. This worried me.

“Bye my friend – see you again” I closed our conversation with all the sadness.

I browsed my new list of “friends” and saw one of my mentors and an inspiring personality in the field of water quality management. We lost this great personality rather prematurely.

I messaged him

“Good to see you Dr Modak after quite a while” He was delighted to connect with me.

We then “spoke” at length about the problem of river pollution in India. “With no intersection of policies and institutions between river quantity and quality – our style of “problem solving” has remain piecemeal with hardly any ground level improvement” He said

He was absolutely right – we have no single example to demonstrate that we could actually improve water quality in our rivers. What a shame!

He showed me a photograph of an empty stretch of a river (here used to be a river! He used the emotion of a sad face) and showed me more such depressing photographs ending with a river that looked more of a dump site of the solid wastes!

I continued chatting more with several of my dear friends, my mentors and guides in my life. Some of them sounded a bit positive and recommended several simple to implement steps –What finally amounted was better understanding and commitment of our political leadership and the behavioral change in people (of all sorts). Both tasks difficult to achieve.

I thought Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives some of us an hour’s time (I know I am asking a lot) and calls his Ministers and Top bureaucrats to listen to us. Given the political acrobatics, global challenges and terrorism spreading like wild fire, I am aware that there isn’t much time to spare for the PM but doesn’t environment matter? Environment  does matter when we think of the future.

I logged off from the Facebook. I wanted to speak to my Professor Friend on this uncanny experience. “He should be told as I know he will never click on the More option to connect with the departed” I said to myself.

Professor laughed at me and said that he cannot just believe it! “You are hallucinating Dr Modak – and surely Mark Zuckerberg cannot do this. I would have believed if you had said InfoSys – as InfoSys is now known to change its face to the World, lately” He put his phone down

But in minutes I received his call back “Well, Dr Modak, you really succeeded in fooling me… I did visit my Facebook page and looked for the menu option “The Departed” under More. This option is simply not there!! A remarkable story teller you are Dr Modak” He laughed and put the phone down saying “Good night (means don’t bother me again!)

I was disappointed. How can this be possible?

I accessed my home page on the Facebook again. But the Professor was right. There was no such option called “The Departed”.  Probably Mark Zuckerberg had put up a Beta version – just for a while.

Why don’t you give a try… Never know it could work for you and you may actually hit on this option.

Cover Photo from http://www.adorocinema.com/noticias/filmes/noticia-108089/?page=4

Facebook has a provision called Special Request for Deceased Person’s Account at https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/228813257197480

Worth to know but rather copious to follow

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  1. Hi Prasad
    Nice one.In the nether world the social media is called a “Racebook” (That’s what my friends told me). Much like the race book the punters use in horse race, because they all are winners who managed to beat others in this race of life. BTW all these developmental/ecological policies serve as dopes to enable us to join the Racebook earlier than intended.

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