Suicide is something that you generally read about in the papers or hear of in the news with a distant third-person interest and approach, as something that only happens with ‘other’ people. However, when it comes around knocking the doors of your vicinity, it leaves you with a crumbling that gnaws at your insides and lingers maliciously often to grave consequences for yourself.
So when someone told me about a school friend’s sister committing suicide, it was a time-stopping moment for me. Here I was thinking and rethinking of her, let’s call her Aditi, and what could have led to such a major step. They were two sisters and I have spent a considerable part of my childhood visiting their home and thereby being equally friendly with Aditi, who was a couple of years older than us. I remember her as a blithe girl, with a care-a-damn demeanour and witty sarcasm for the world and its ways, but basically happy. She was not exactly a fighter but not really a loser either...a face in the crowd.
After my friend got married about ten years back and shifted to the U.S. I seldom met Aditi who also settled into a matrimonial alliance in Kanpur itself, except bumping into her at the market, or she would call once in a blue moon to find out about a boutique or so. I presumed she was actually fine, whenever I asked her ‘And so, how are you?’ and she would non-chalantly reply ‘fine’ and we exchanged random pleasantries. How generic has the word ‘fine’ and the query ‘how are you?’ become in modern times, we seldom realize!
And then out of the blue, one day someone told me she had hanged herself to the fan and given up on the shreds of life holding her so far. “Why?” was the first questioning that haunted the mind followed by many more...
Surely she had friends. Didn’t she have anyone close enough to talk to and talk her out of it? Or maybe she had ‘stuff’ she did not want to discuss and who tells others about the intentions to commit suicide anyways...you just commit it and let the world know on its own.
But then such a serious step-what mind churning days she must have had prior to taking the final plunge. The haunting of ‘to do or not to do and what to do’, the going over of how it would affect the lives of those she would leave behind and the sheer helplessness of having no other option left but this. I could almost see her dying every minute with such thoughts for days together before she was actually pronounced dead.
I don’t know why her struggle was haunting me for we were not exactly bosom buddies. I didn’t even know if she had children or whether she was working... it was THAT distant an acquaintance. Yet the memory of her smiling face, refused to leave me as much as I tried for it to. Also at the back of my mind was the harrowing of the fact that if such was my predicament, how and what her family would be going through.
I was in casual touch with my friend, over the Facebook but I could not get myself to ask her about it or even express my sympathies or personal grief. I didn’t know what to say, as loss of a life often and always leaves me dumbfounded when it comes to consoling those who are left behind.
What goes through a human’s mind before he or she decides to jump off the cliff of a seething, breathing life?
As regards everything else, even on suicide I had an opinion. I considered it as a lame step taken by those who are cowards and not driven and striven enough to fight the stumbling blocks thrown on their way to cause to totter. It is easy to sit at the side-tracks and preach as long as you are an on-looker, while it is a mammoth task to go through a mind-numbing torture that life might force you to relive every day. But with time and my own little struggles, a sense of maturity and sensitivity has perhaps dawned in
Not proud of the fact and as candid as I can get, the sense of suicide as an alternative is not really alien to me although not really akin to my skin either. Contrary to sighting it as a coward man’s territory, I now view it as a very brave man’s arsenal. Sure, you are in a situation that suffocates you...you have no one to talk to who would empathise instead of sympathising or reprimanding...no way or hope out of the misery that is consuming you up like invisible termites at relentless work, within the facade of a shining, proud peripheral. You watch standing hollow and alone at the edge of the ghat, how your identity or self-respect is submerging into the harsh lapping waters and what is remaining is just a physical body and yet your body just stands there and stares.
What stops you then, from taking that step past the descending ghat, into the tempting waters, to end the history of the mere body too?
The thought of those left behind-their agony of the loss of a loved one, their humiliation and your own of being viewed as a weakling. What stops is a sense of guilt of having given up on responsibilities that life brought your way, guilt for killing every day those who loved you, with questions that you would not be around to answer and consolation that you would never be able to provide.
It is therefore a super brave person, who can go past such thoughts and more, to realize how would it all matter to me anyways once my soul departs from the physical imprisonment. Mooh-maya is what binds us as long as we are one in the teething population count and stops us from abandoning being a part of this statistics so readily.
As much as I would love to preach that suicide is never an option, it sadly becomes one for many who are trapped. Running away would bring them a mortification that they would have to live with, no matter how far they go. Fighting back requires courage and that path we know is beset with niggling complications.
I would still implore to keep life as an option, instead of suicide. To carry on for the sake of happy times, however intermittent and few and search for these, however latent and illusive. Some wise guy once said, “Happiness is just like a quickie, while sadness is a good long f@#$!” Let’s make time for quickies hence. Whatever pain we go through, it is not worthwhile to leave it behind for those who love you not by lack of choice, but by lack of conditions...unconditional love, they call it.