In case you didn't know it already, we're a nation of highly-obsessed individuals.
Obsessed about what, you're wondering? To put it simply, we're obsessed about stalking. Sitting online, we're all guilty of stalking our friends and foes on social media. And not just the known ones, we're spending hours trying to catch up with the lives of unknown people as well. Men are busy sending messages to women in the hope of 'making frandship' and trolls are ready to slut-shame any and every woman they come across.
But nothing brings out our inner stalkers quite like celebrities.
Scrolling through their images on the internet, following them on social media and hounding them for selfies at events both public and private, our apparent love for our matinee idols clearly doesn't know no bounds. We want to know what they're wearing, who they're dating and where they're traveling. It'd all be fine if it wasn't so intrusive.
But when they sign up as public figures, are they willingly to let go of their privacy, something most of us take for granted? No! It's just that we have completely let go of all possible decency in our constant urge to get to know them better!
I'm sure it's not the first instance but I first noticed the growing paparazzi culture in India at the time of Priyanka Chopra's father's demise. It was a painful moment for the actor and while she was attending to the guests gathered at the funeral, crying on their shoulders, there were innumerable shots all over the internet, taken by photographers present at the spot.
Distasteful and downright disgusting, those pictures spread like wildfire. And since then, there's been no stopping our voyeuristic cameras and our more-than-eager eyes.
Recently, after the untimely demise of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's father, it was the same scenario. Minute-after-minute, there'd be some photograph of the actor grieving at her loss. Sadly, these photographs were all over Twitter, Instagram and every possible entertainment website.
Reacting to this horrific trend, Alia Bhatt's sister, Shaheen Bhatt, wrote a powerful note, urging everyone to leave the Rai family alone, asking people to not share the already-popular shots. It was a moment of mourning that was turned into a spectacle by everyone around.
As I write this piece, non-verified pictures of what looks like veteran actor Vinod Khanna, currently recuperating in the hospital are going viral. As per sources, he's undergoing treatment for bladder cancer though his family has neither confirmed nor denied the same. However, right now, he's just another man admitted in the hospital, needed to be left alone. As a patient, doesn't he require just as much privacy as you and I?
From leaking out the first images of Taimur Ali Khan, just after he was born to stalking celebrities outside airports and salons, have we not taken our obsession way too far?
Yes, they are famous figures who have been placed on a pedestal by the rest of us but does that mean that we make sure they're never given a moment of quiet? Especially when it's a mother holding her new-born child or a daughter grieving the loss of her father?
Is it necessary to click their photographs at such emotional times?
The next time you share or like a similar image of some other celebrity online, take a moment to imagine a similar situation happening with you.
Would you like your face splashed across websites and social media apps while you're seeking solace in the arms of a friend at the loss of a family member? Would you like to be photographed during a grave illness? Would you want your kid's pictures shared across the world even before you've had a good look at his face yourself?
In our glorious obsession for anything celebrity, let's not lose out on our inner human souls. They might be famous but they certainly didn't sign up for such violation. Can we please leave our celebrities alone?
(The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect those of ScoopWhoop.)