Life is strange and stranger are the reasons for its dismissal. Death as we know it comes in many forms, all very sad. But suicide is not just that, it is the defeat of that human spirit which when we are alive defines us. It is ironic. The very being we all strive to maintain, one fine day becomes useless, worthless. And also the very reason for all our problems. When you contrast it with cancer survival cases, amputees trying to live a normal life or AIDs patient trying day in and day out for an un-discriminated life, this seems worse. They don’t have a choice and they try to create it and here some of us do and yet choose to avoid.
This day which is also heralded as the “World Suicide day” is going to make me speak the closest and darkest secret of my life.
I was about seven when my dad came home, in tears and narrated to us the sad demise of his friend. Sending his wife and kids for a vacation, my dad’s friend had drunk a bottle of baygon to end his life. It seemed he had not spoken to anyone for days on ends and even on the day of his death despite several attempts the regular milkman could not get him to open the door.
“If only he had spoken to someone…” my father kept repeating these words.
After that, everytime I saw the baygon bottle, my heart would beat faster. Somehow I was convinced that this is the only way a person can die. I began to imagine my parents killing each other with it. My sister adding it in my food and what not. That though was all a funny series of events inside my head. Nothing serious, just a child’s imagination.
But yes, its stuck around. The thought of suicide and through baygon.
Then my mother died. And life took all possible bad turns. I could not speak to anyone about my pain. It was a vicious circle really. If I cried, my sister cried, if she cried my dad did. So I had assigned a time for my crying- three o clock at night. I stay up late till I was sure everyone went off to sleep and then I would get up and walk to the bathroom and cry.
I missed my mother and suddenly nothing seemed right. I couldn’t talk to anyone, I could not explain how much I missed her. Because everyone was too busy understanding the practical side of her demise. “How will the kids be brought up?” “Who will cook the food?” “Who will manage the house?” and blah and blah.
And one fine day I again as per my routine walked to the bathroom and started to cry. It usually would last for an hour or so. It was suddenly in the middle of the crying that I saw the baygon bottle kept there, I picked it up toyed with it and started to imagine what would happen if I drank it.
The thoughts went like this…
“Papa had told me his friend drank baygon and instantly started to feel very hot and so began to take of clothes”– I checked I was wearing a pair of shorts and T-shirts- I will not feel very hot.
“Papa had told me he vomited a lot and so the vomit was all over his bedroom, until in the end he reached the bathroom somehow.”– That would be messy, Papa would have to clean it himself. Thank god I am already in bathroom, so that’s taken care of.
“Papa had told me the poison was so strong he could not even scream or else the neighbours would have been alerted”– Good then that means people can continue to sleep soundly, no point creating a ruckus in the middle of night.
And then for a few moments I started to toy with it, I even opened the bottle and smelled it. Then somehow, I have no clue why I heard my sister speak, “Richa ee” ( ‘ee’ is what she calls me because as a child she could never pronounce ‘di’ and hence the name is ‘Richa ee’ )
I got a big jolt. I thought to myself, mumma left us and now even I am planning to do so. Am I really so selfish? I mean can I do this to someone who has perhaps got all her hopes on me now? I didn’t cry somehow this time, I quietly kept the bottle back and walked out.
I went and hugged my sister and slept.
After that night, each night I would go off to sleep hugging her. And never again did I have to get up in the middle of night to cry.
I had found my loved one. I had found my purpose.
Life is not always about being cared for it is also about caring for others. Till date when I get very depressed with life or imagine how bad things have gone, I remember my sister. I tell myself that taking care of her, making her somebody in life is worth all the problems.