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.
But often it is not easy as a comparison presented above. Help is not offered where needed, and mostly a case of neglect or lack of awareness from a loved one causes this rather catastrophic event. So those of us online have been holding hands and spreading as much is possible about this, every word, every share counts.
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 (an insect repellant) to end his life. It seemed he had not spoken to anyone for days 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, every time I saw a 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, it 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 would stay up late and once I was sure everyone had gone off to sleep, 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, as always in accordance with my nocturnal routine, walked to the bathroom and started crying. An hour long routine on most days was suddenly interrupted by a sight – A big green bottle of Baygon bottle. 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 his clothes”– I checked I was wearing a pair of shorts and T-shirt- 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. But 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 that 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.
Strength and Weakness
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 a 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. Even today, if something depresses or dejects me (which is a lot), I remember my sister. I tell myself that taking care of her, making her somebody in life is worth all the problems.
Alright then, its just that on this day I cannot preach. I cannot tell you taking your own life is wrong or right. Because in those moments none of the things we present as logic can you remember. But then one thing I have learnt is to always have a sense of purpose in life. A purpose which cannot be taken away from you through force or destiny. To always cherish people whom you love. They are the people who often arrive in the worst of moments and become your strongest support. Remember them in your weakest moments and brave the emotions that haunt you.
Its a strange thing suicide. And one thing I have learnt over the years is it needs people to speak out. It needs us to scream and shout, communicate. And so us write tribers have decided to do just that. We are all going to put up posts for this initiative. You read mine. I believe it is time for you to read others at World Suicide Prevention Day at Write Tribe