Saturday, January 07, 2006

..and here I go

So here I am, finally into blogging. Its not that I was too lazy to actually blog but I was awaiting something magnificient to strike me but since I don't foresee that happening in the near future as well, let me just begin. Read a piece by Chetan Bhagat a couple of days back about suicides. Not a soul strring one but it gave me something I could actually write about.

Its true that each one of us has a life different from one another but in an average life of 70 yrs, there are many similar emotions/feelings that humans do experience. Contemplating suicide is one of them. If you do not agree with me just strain your memory a bit, didn't you ever feel like taking that one step ever? Whether you actually gave a serious thought to it or not is a different aspect altogether but didn't it ever occur to you even as a passing thought?

I had a couple of suicidal thoughts when I was in my teens. They've stopped occuring now because of several reasons I feel:
a) My personal experience with suicides says that it might not always be a success at one go.
b) I now fear death more than I hate life during the times of any crisis.
c) Its after all not a very glorified or heroic act. Now how many suiciders get a posthumus certificate of bravery after all?

But let me recount to you my daring attempt at taking my life. It was sometime in March, 1996. A bright day, the sun shone brightly, there was a spring in every step and I was having loose motions. It was not a very healthy sign. My exam results were going to be out. My Dad accompanied me to school and thankfully I had scored quite okay. A highest in History and English could easily make you satsfied and content and thats how it was all going when the Yamadoot of my life surfaced in the form of my Dad's colleague. He scrutinised my progress report carefully and then maybe because it was not to his liking, grimaced his face before passing on his judgement - "Only 70 in Mathematics? You are not doing your father proud my son!" I immediately turned towards my Dad expecting a dissproval on his part but he just smiled. What did it mean? Was I really an unworthy son? My whole worlkd came falling down. Why didn't Dad say that I was just doing fine?

Everything changed. I felt like a complete failure and the circumstances around me contrived towards convincing me about it I felt. My younger brother scored a magnificient 100 in Maths and I didn't get my usual result day gift. The verdict seemed clear - I was no more wanted. That night was a really long one.I got up early next morning..possibly my last morning. The decision was made. I sat down with my diary to plan it all out. "What all comprises a suicide? A suicide letter and the basic tools for committing suicide, depending on the strategy adopted", I thought.

I regularly read newspapers and was kind of up-to-date with the ways of carrying it out. I sat down to pen my last few words addressing my parents. I talked about how unworthy I was and that the best way to bring an end to my plight was to end my life. Just as I was writing the customary thank you note to all those who supported a total waste like me through the thick and thins of my short and failed life, my Mom started screaming at me to go and take a bath. "I'll never trouble you again" - I thought.

The next step involved finalising the way. I had several options and it took me an hour or so of scanning through the regional news section of the newspapers to get down to a final list of methods. For the record they were:
a) consuming poison
b) lying on a railway track in front of a speeding train
c) jumping from the building terrace - heavily inspired by the film 'Baazigar'
d) self immolation
e) hanging myself from the ceiling fanDon't know if life gives you options but death surely does ;-)

(b) and (d) were immediately ruled out because of the pain involved. (c) was a 'not-so-common' way and seemed okay but what if I only ended up breaking my legs or a few bones? I ruled that out too. (a) is a very popular method but then I had heard that though death is guaranteed, the build up to death is very painful. People vomit when they consume poison and I didn't like vommitting. So (e) it was. Plain and simple just a momentary realisation of the fact that you are dying and then you are gone.

The execution step is the one thats most difficult to plan out. I had to arrange for a long rope and more importantly do it without my parents knowing it. Thankfully Sharma Uncle came to my rescue. Our family was invited for a dinner at his house and I excused myself citing my personal ideological differences with his elder son. My family respected my decision and they did not push for a reconciliation that night.

The stage was all set. I gave some final emotional touches to the suicide letter and kept it on my study table. But how could I do everything right. Though I had a good quality rope to hang myself with, I did not know how to reach the ceiling fan to tie its one end. Our ceiling was quite high by all standards and I could barely reach it standing on the table. "Should I get back to a (c) or a (d)?" - I couldn't come to a conclusion. And then suddenly as if from nowhere that damn Yamadoot, my Dad's colleague, came looking for my Dad at home. I had to abandon all plans for that day and decided to make a more seal proof startegy the next morning. I somehow managed a peaceful sleep.

The next morning was gloomy, dark clouds around, no sunshine and my loose motions had stopped. I felt the change. I immediately opened my diary and read the suicide note. Was I in a daze when I wrote all that crap? The first thing I did after that was to burn the note. All that happened during the past 48 hours flashed in front of my eyes. Life had come a full cirle in a span of just two days. The very reason of my contemplating suicide(Dad's colleague) was the reason why I actually didn't.I realised how precious life was.

I might have been too young to actually philosophise on looking at the whole episode as some divine power's way of teaching me a lesson or two about life but old enough to feel grateful for the fact that I was living. Just as these thoughts overwhelmed me, my Mom screamed yet again shouting at me for not taking a bath. "I'll keep troubling you like this forever" - I screamed back.

- Anurag O' Henry.

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