Yesterday M, our domestic help came a little late to work. Her eyes were puffy and her expressions were sombre. When I asked her what happened, she said that her neighbour had just passed away in the morning, leaving his three little children orphaned.
She remained preoccupied the whole day and from time to time, talked about how much she cried. She also spoke over the phone to her other neighbours with an urgency to get back, and she left early.
Usually, when I observe people like M and others, I see that there is a great sense of community that prevails among people like her, especially when they are in grief, etc. Everyone comes together, be with the bereaved person, helpful or otherwise; a bit different from the affluent middle class where once your apartment door is shut, you live in your isolated world without any touch with your neighbours.
Yesterday, as I watched M being absorbed in the grief, I however, wondered about something else. I wondered, whether grief, apart from being a bonding agent, may also hold a macabre attraction for people. Do people find relief from their own hidden fears, anxieties, and unshed tears by a process of catharsis? Is this why, most people are more attracted to news/photos/videos of deaths, accidents and other stories of griefs of others, so that one can “live” through it without having to go through it in real lives? Do others’ death remind us of our own mortality and we cry in fear and in relief that it was not us?
what do you think?