I walk on a road lush with dreams,
a road of forgotten and veiled dreams,
sometimes slowly, sometimes gaily,
sometimes lost, sometimes profound,
I walk a road of unknown mysteries,
fervently finding my way through the endless path.....

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Story of a suicide- behind and beyond

Ending your own life. Have you ever contemplated upon it? 
Envisaged ways to achieve it? 
Engulfed in a despair so cluttered that the idea of death lured you more than the reality of life? 

Stats reveal that every 40 seconds, one person commits suicide globally (WHO-2012 report). What's worse is, India has been accounted for highest estimated number of suicides according to the same report.

The issue isn't why, but 'what' is so tempting in the entire situation that drags a victim to a path of no return.
Impulsiveness and fear might be a reason. Depression isn't ( studies reveal that less than 10% of those suffering from depression choose to end life).

I strongly feel that the portrayal of suicide by various forms of media has been playing a very important yet negative role.
We must realise that 'awareness' isn't always good. More so, if it comes across as an easy choice.
Media has been showcasing suicide simply as an action, a glorified one sometimes. But what about the consequences? The before and the after of this journey to a never land.

Every suicide has a story, behind and beyond. It is this 'story of a suicide' which needs to shared, analysed and most importantly understood to envision the complete picture.

I happen to read one such story of suicide few days ago. 

'The story of a suicide' is a brainchild of Nalandaway founder Sriram Ayer. 

Image courtesy:

Genre : Contemporary fiction

Book format : E-Book consisting of 31 chapters.
What's interesting here is that the book is a visually rich amalgamation of audio, video, illustrations and how do I's. 

Where to read : You can read the book on author's blog at (It is present in 'all-device' friendly kind of format). The navigation tools are also pretty neat. Plus it is free for all. 

What is it about : Set mostly in a college campus, the story revolves around Mani, Hari, Sam and Charu.
They are not only college mates but their lives are linked to each other in many other ways too.
The story progress to unfold poignant issues dealt by today's youth. 
Through the lives of these four characters, Ayer has divulged through matters of Child abuse, Homosexuality, Rape, Cyber bullying and suicide. 

The characters have been sketched in a way that a readers will not face any hurdle in identifying themselves or those in the vicinity with them. 
Entrapped in emotions of love, rage, fear, jealousy and confusion, they are as real as you and me. 

Storyline: The story begins with a chapter named 'I give up'. It's a letter addressed to the world by someone who has made up his mind to end his life.
Subsequent chapters dive in the story further and as the plot thickens, the reader finds himself entwined in a tale which explores the dilemmas faced by youth of today.

Narration: Being a contemporary fiction, book is narrated in a language easy to grasp. 
Sometimes, I did feel the narration could have been more crisp. Also, there was an explicit description of sexual encounters but a similar description was lacking in terms of emotions and sensitivity. 
I failed to feel what the character felt in many a places because of a somewhat superficial narrative. 

Things worthy of mention: The part in which Charu plays the role of 'Draupadi' and her dialogue with Caesar was quite captivating and a novel idea.
Also, Charu's Facebook post addressed to 'Dear Penises' was a challenging but applaudable effort by the writer. 
Other special features of the book :

1) The curtain raiser video directed by Surya Balakrishnan. This one gave me goosebumps. 

2) Illustrations by Ghana. All through the book, one finds these richly coloured drawings which play a great role in enhancing the reading experience. Some of them are so vivid that I couldn't help but ponder over them for a length of time. 

3) How do I's by Mansi S. Mehta. 
A very special feature of the book. As mentioned earlier, that the book expands over 31 different chapters. 
At the end of every chapter, they present you with a set of 'How do I''. Which is basically a 'book within a book' sort of a creation. 
It is self-help guide to enlighten the reader with ways to deal with situations as and when they arise in the form of fiction throughout the book. 
So basically, as I read the book and was confronted upon a situation which a character was under-going and wondered, 'yes, I identify myself with him/her but how to cope up with it?'. 
A set of 'how do I's' immediately came to my rescue.

On coping up with suicidal thoughts:

I have had a chance to work with patients suffering from psychiatric ailments during my internship days. 
There were patients who had attempted suicide multiple times and then there were others who had been on a verge of doing it after a long battle fighting this dilemma.
Most of them had a story to tell. 
When we tried to connect to them ,I realized that such tendencies were somehow linked to 'fear'.
Fear of the unknown. Such overwhelming fear that it blurred all thoughts, every desire to foresee any future, good or bad.

If at all, the victims could find an outlet to vent out their fear, I believe they can undo this impulsive desire to end their life.

That is why 'talking about it' plays a major role.

Everyone must realize that like all thoughts, wanting to end one's life is a thought too. And like all others, it comes and goes.
So let it pass.

To understand and identify with an issue as sensitive as suicide, two things should be kept in mind. They ironically are contrasting to each other.

one, stop 'glamourizing' it. By this I mean, do not understand suicide to be like how they show it in movies or soaps. It isn't that.

two, stop 'loathing/criminalizing' it. This simply means that don't judge the victims or survivors of suicide. Don't call them as criminals or think that they are any different from you and me or any member of our family. They are not.

Although I couldn't identify much with the characters of the book, I did manage to find a reflection of me and those around me in this book as a whole and that is what makes the book so gripping. 

Most of all, as mentioned earlier, this book IS actually the need of the hour. 

We need to hear more such 'stories of suicide' and not merely the 'inconspicuous news'.
We need to talk over and about it. Discuss it. Help and ask for help. Reach out, within and without.

I have always believed in the words of Plato who said 'be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle'. 

It's time now to do that. 

Ending on this little rhyme by Dorothy Parker: 
Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful,
Nooses give,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live.