At the last Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Sunrisers Hyderabad match on May 5, the real 'star of the match,' wasn't on the pitch - but a girl in the stands. The camera of the fans in the stadium paused temporarily on an RCB supporter in a red top, and the Internet paused permanently.
They took several screenshots, shared it all over Twitter, and ultimately tracked down the girl, and put her identity on display for the entire world.
Welcome to 2019. In this age, we still stalk and glorify it. Albeit, on the Internet to make things look alright.
In 1993 film Shah Rukh Khan played the role of a stalker in Darr. It's been 26 years since then, and in that time span, we've only changed the method of stalking, and not stalking itself. Really.
Since forever, Bollywood has kept trying (and is perhaps still trying) to normalize stalking where a male protagonist follows a woman around until she realizes that she too, has Stockholm syndrome...err, we mean, that she's also in love with him.
It has simply evolved over time. We went from just romanticizing stalkers on screen, to justifying our behavior when we do it in person, on the Internet.
Right after the match, the Internet went into a tizzy trying to find this woman, a cricket fan who didn't know she was being stalked.
The girl has since gained over 150k followers, and her changed Instagram bio now reads, "#theRCBgirl." While the girl, in particular, may not have as much of a problem with her identity being out in the open, it does reveal how easily the identifies of people can be tracked down, and publicized.
This isn't limited to just this one girl or one instance. The Internet does it multiple times over. Remember Priya Varrier, who became an Internet sensation simply by moving her eyebrows?
Wait. Let me rephrase that. Remember Priya Varrier who became an Internet sensation after creepy men stalked her Facebook profiles/upcoming movie details to find her, and then put her Instagram on full display for the world?
And that's not all. Remember the reassuring story about a Kerala girl in school uniform for selling fish? People found out her real name, where she was selling her fish, and decided to troll her for it. Why? Because the a video of her selling fish to make money was amusing to some.
This pattern extends beyond just viral sensations. People do it for someone they even catch a glimpse of - in September 2018, another girl went viral from a cricket match. The reason for her going viral? She just happened to be there. That's it. The Internet collectively decided to obsess over a woman they saw on a television screen for five seconds.
The Internet's obsessive stalking habit isn't limited to just finding people they like - they also find people they don't. A video of a woman hurling abuses targeted at four young girls in Gurgaon, led to the Internet sleuths trying to find her identity, and in the blind Sherlock Holmes, arrive at a red herring, but keep going all throughout. After the Internet made public the woman's identity, another woman of the same name was made the subject of the trolls hate, and received threatening messages and abuses. And she wasn't the only one.
This obsessive behavior of everyone playing Sherlock Holmes, treating actual human beings and their identities as some sort of 'Easter egg' to find and then make public just raises one important question - whatever happened to privacy?
What probably stands out in the middle of this is that it's a collective effort as a society - the more we normalize their behavior, the more we make people think it's fine to stalk people, even if it is from the safety of being behind a computer screen.
In fact, if you Google the words 'Who's the girl in..' one of the first search results that show up is, "Who is the girl featured in the song Lamberghini The Doorbeen feat Ragini?" If the question wasn't enough, the Quora thread is filled with answers with her name, 'weight, eye color, height', and of course, her Instagram profile.
There's a very popular saying when someone wants attention from Netizens: Internet, do your thing.
In this case, we'd like to say, Internet, stop doing your thing. Your crazy, obsessive, this-is-definitely-stalking, what-is-privacy-anyway thing.