NO-SELFIE zones are now in force across the sprawling Indian city of Mumbai, home to more than 20 million people, several of whom have somehow contrived to kill themselves while taking photos. Needless to say the deaths weren’t in the service of capturing an epoch defining Polaroid of war, scandal or wonder, but rather the inevitable tragicomic consequence of the social media zeitgeist.
There have been 49 confirmed ‘selfie-deaths’ where youngsters have tried to capture their gurning faces while doing something they consider interesting, then fall, Darwin Award style, into a nearby river, over their hotel balcony, or, in one case, head first into an active volcano. Earlier this month an Indian teenager on a school trip taking a selfie on a rock atop a dam plunged into the waters and drowned – along with his friend who tried to save him.
The farcical wave of death has now convinced authorities in India to assume control of the situation by banning the practice in certain key areas, though many are relaxed on the matter, seeing it as a simple case of 21st century natural selection. There are now 16 areas in Mumbai fully off-limits to marauding ego-tourists, while other cities across the country are running awareness campaigns.