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Of voyeurs and gossip mongers

People probably care less about their neighbours than they do about a celebrity, finds Deepa Gahlot.

sex and relationships Updated: Aug 22, 2013 11:22 IST

If a guy peeks into somebody's window, he’s called a Peeping Tom. And it’s not a nice thing. Voyeurism, they call it. But the frenzy over the big wedding of the week turned all of us into voyeurs..even those of us who were unwilling.

Paparazzi: But how could anyone get away ..you couldn't read the newspapers, tune into the radio, flip channels or even surf the news channels without glimpses of the wedding popping in front of your eyes or ears.

If you managed to avoid all that, there were people talking about it everywhere, if only to express annoyance at the media overdrive. To mind someone else’s business is an age-old time pass of the idle or maybe a stress buster for the bored housewife or office drudge.

And, news passing off as gossip travels at a rate faster than the speed of light. Even if it turns out to be totally false, the perpetrator will smugly say “There's no smoke without fire.”

The ordinary incidence of chatting with the neighbour over the picket fence (or in the landing, taking into account today’s space situation) about new scandal brewing in the building, has been turned into a profitable phenomenon by today’s celebrity crazy media. And the public is falling under its spell.

Picket-fence gossip: In the olden days too, stars have got married, but except for publishing the news report with a photo on the inside pages, there was no more interest in the matter.

The public read it and turned the page to more important events, and nobody was any poorer for lack of information of the guest list, menu or rituals. But today, everybody's an Abdullah in a begaani shaadi. And voyeurism has become institutionalized.

Getting a pedicure in a salon meant eaves dropping into the conversation of the girls..and they were all talking rather authoritatively about various stars’ love lives and marriages..as if they were on intimate terms with them.

They may not have known about the Virginia Tech massacre, but God knows what media they devoured to get details about the lives of total strangers. And you know what the saddest thing about this is, that people probably know or care less about their neighbours than they do about a celebrity. Maybe the world needs more picket fences than news channels!