(Trigger Warning: Suicide)
It’s a lovely morning in Bangalore. I grab a cup of coffee and climb the stairs to reach the terrace. My eyes are focused on the sky. The sky is perfect blue with gray clouds trying to cover it but blown away by strong winds. While I am enjoying this game of hide and seek, I see another woman, beside me, near the terrace railing, looking down, as if someone is calling her and she’s wondering whether to take the plunge. I walk towards her and I am shocked to realize that she’s no one else but my younger version (My 2017 version to be precise)- disheveled hair, puffed eyes, blank face with dried tear marks, she looks confused. She’s walking in a small loop like a tin soldier with a key. Her eyes shows signs of determination followed by self doubt and she’s muttering something to herself.
I put a break on her inertia of motion when I pat on her soldier. She’s so disturbed that she can’t even recognize me.
Me: Hey, can I help you?
V.2017: Thanks, but I don’t even know you.
Me: Yeah, that’s why I am the best person to help you. You know, you can talk to me. I won’t judge you.
V.2017: It doesn’t matter anyway. Soon, everything’s gonna be fine. For me and everyone around me.
Me: Okay. But you don’t seem to be at peace, or happy so how do you know, everything will be fine?
V.2017: Because I won’t be there to trouble anyone anymore.
Me: I appreciate the fact that you are so thoughtful of others that you think of them before you think of yourself but tell me, did they ask you to do this?
Me: I agree they are suffering too, to see you in pain. They are hurt by your aloofness. They feel broken when their expectations are not fulfilled but is it worse than not having you around? Absolutely no!
V.2017: Everything has changed. I am not the same. No one is the same. They don’t understand me anymore. They don’t support me. There are few who do but they are in so much pain. I am a burden to them.
Me: Do you remember when you scored really low in the pre-board exams in school? How upset your parents and teachers were?
V.2017: Yes. I locked myself in the room and cried for hours. Then I decided to work really hard and score better in the final exams. And I topped my school. I made everyone proud.
Me: Well, you did well. And even if you haven’t scored perfect, everyone around you would have been proud of you working so hard. Do you remember what made it work?
V.2017: Yes, my determination and my willpower which I have lost now.
Me: No, more than anything, it was a chance. You had a chance to work hard and change the past. If you jump today, this would become your reality, for you and your loved ones. They would never get a chance to be proud again.
V.2017: But I am so lonely. It’s like living on an island alone.
Me: I understand how you feel now. I was there too once upon a time. Remember, Robinson Crusoe, the story you read as a kid. He created his own world in an isolated island using the scarce resources he had. Why? In hope of being found out by his own people one day. Till that day, he had only one purpose- to survive. To live one day at a time.
V.2017: What if no one comes to rescue me?
Me: Then you would become your own tribe. But you know there are so many like you- alone and waiting to be found out. And besides, you have a bright future ahead. Those who don’t understand you now would be the same people who would help you achieve your dreams and help you live again.
V.2017: And how do you know that?
Me: Because I am you. Don’t you recognize me? I am your future. I am standing at the same place, holding a coffee mug, enjoying the weather. I am happy- not successful, not beautiful, not popular but happy. And that’s what matters the most. And I owe my present to you. I am so thankful to you for not taking that step.
V.2017: Okay, so today is not the day.
Me: It may take more than few days and few weeks. Just hold tight till the gray clouds fly away and the sunshine is back. And give a call to your best friend. Ask her to keep a check on you. She would be more than happy to do this for you. And this would definitely work.
V.2017: Thank you. You saved my day and my life!
Me: Okay, my coffee is cold. I need to reheat it. It was nice meeting you. It made me realize how blessed my life is. It also made me realize how much difference we can bring in people’s life by making small gestures. May God give me strength and opportunity to spread the happiness that I have been bestowed upon by the universe. Let’s meet again in a happier time.
PS: Reading about Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide brought back many bad memories of the time I was diagnosed with clinical depression. There’s a suicide taking place every 40 sec in India yet, all of them are just numbers to us. When a celebrity chooses to end their life, everyone’s busy doing an analysis of their career, relationships etc and says, show biz is a lonely place. Well, most professions, most places are. We wish they would have asked for help but to be honest, it’s not a financial crisis that I ask for money, get it and my life is sorted. It’s much complex than that. It takes time, efforts and hard work. Hence, instead of waiting to be approached and asked for help, why not start with developing simple emotions like empathy, kindness and self awareness? The day one becomes aware of their own actions and it’s effects, they would probably be cognitive of others’ needs. No one is perfect in this. We all are learning but probably, learning it together would make it faster.