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Ash. Spiritual. Happy in my own way. Writes Random Stuff. Ice Cream. Night owl. Ice Cream, again.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Unanswered Questions and Suicides!

This article has been published in The Hindu Nxg. You can read it here


Some questions cannot be answered. Some questions don’t even have answers. ‘Why did he/she commit suicide?’ is one such question.

Earlier, when I read about suicides, though it was none of my business, I used to wonder how selfish those people were. Selfish enough to think of their plight alone and put others in misery. I never use to empathize for those who chose to leave. I used to feel bad for the shocked parents who would be trying to understand what forced their son/daughter to take that extreme step. Everyone has problems. Some people know how to tackle them.  Some people learn how to tackle them by watching others. If everything goes for a toss, of course there are people who we could ask for help. So I used to think that, perhaps those people were too scared to face the obstacles strewn on their path.

Until one day my perception of this changed. Completely.

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos


Back at high school, there was this senior who was very popular. He was exceedingly intelligent, completely down to earth and very friendly. He was an all-rounder. One look at him, and you would know he was destined for great things in life. And he lived up to all the expectations. He emerged the topper of various entrance exams, he got into the most reputed engineering college in the country. He chased his dreams and went on to pursue his Masters in the US and he was doing PhD. He was the kind of person who every mother would hope to have a as a son.

Would you ever have thought that a person of such nature would attempt something like a suicide?

He did.

One morning when my mother was reading the paper, she noticed an article about a suicide which had mentioned his name . He was in my Facebook friend list and I immediately navigated to his wall to see thousands of condolences pouring. It took a few minutes to understand what had happened.  His friends had said that he was normal, or at least it seemed so. One day he had left his apartment having kept all his credit cards, ID cards and mobile phone back. His friends were trying to reach him and realized something was fishy when he hadn’t returned their calls. They reached his apartment and realized something was not quite right and informed the authorities who in turn informed the police. If I remember correctly, the next day, a student was found dead at the outskirts of the campus and it was him. The senior I knew. The ever smiling, ever enthusiastic person that we all knew had decided to end his life, for reasons unknown, a day before his birthday.

I wasn’t exactly in touch with him, but he was a blogger too and I remember asking him a few doubts regarding blogging. I was shocked. Completely shocked. It is bad enough that someone you know leaves the world. It is worse, if you come to know that the person who left actually had a choice and he still chose to leave. I knew that it couldn’t be happening. Not him of all people. There were probably a million others dreaming the life he was living. And he seemed to be content with what he was doing. You name it and he was an expert in it.  So the next question that popped up was, ‘Why?’.

Why did he choose to leave everything behind and leave?

How could he, the ‘Brightest Indian Student’, the ‘Walking Wikipedia’ and a ‘Scientist-to-be’, have even thought of leaving all his accomplishments, his friends, his family in a split second decision?

It was then that I realized that at moments of extreme depression, nothing matters. Nothing at all. If a person like my senior, having been so highly qualified, could take such a drastic decision, so can anyone. This option is not just for the weak hearted souls, but for anyone.  We can never generalize on that.  I just can’t stop thinking of what would have driven him to take that final decision. One thought, powerful enough to overshadow all the wonderful moments in his life. Just one thought that took him away from the world.

As friends and family, we come across so many people. We might not even be able to recollect the names of a few immediately, but indirectly we come to know and meet a lot of people. The smallest help we could probably do is to offer help to anyone who suddenly or gradually seems to be different from what they usually are for reasons unknown. We might not know them well enough to take it upon ourselves to lend them a helping hand hoping they’d take it, for which we could probably express our concern to those who knows the person well. If it is a false alarm, never mind. As long as the person is happy and fine, things should be good.  But, if at all, it was not a false alarm, you would be happy that you actually made a difference to someone’s life and indirectly to the lives of so many others.

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos

When some people are stuck, they shout for help. Some try to sort it out by themselves and if it fails, they ask for help. Some people just refuse to ask anyone directly but would accept help if someone offers to. Some people refuse to ask and even refuse the other person’s offer to help. We never know in which category people around us would fall into. All we know is we can offer to help someone in a small way, hoping they would take our hand.


September 10 is observed as 'Suicide Prevention Day'. Hoping that we get to prevent people from taking such drastic decisions. Prayers and wishes!

44 comments:

  1. I think the police should investigate if it was a suicide or murder. Some murders are brushed aside as suicides.

    Human beings have an innate ability to fight through struggles and depression. That spirit is built in. What they cannot handle, however, is success and the responsibility it brings. It also helps not to be over-dependent on anyone or anything, how much ever clever we are.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. There was an investigation that was held I believe. Dont know what happened after that.

      The vice versa is also true.People keep their feet on the ground even when they are doing very well. But a little bit of stress and they topple.

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  2. The last paragraph truly presents that 'need for help' must be identified. I am also one of those, keeping to myself when in need of help.Lately I am trying to share things & ask for help whenever I am unable to handle it myself.
    Suicide is an extreme end. I think such decision is taken when one is at a tipping point. At those times somebody has to grab that person, even a thin-line may help.

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    1. Exactly. This is an extreme step and just a second's decision. The problem is, only if people vocally express their problems, others might be able to help. And even so, others should be able to send a signal that they are ready to help. It has to work both ways.

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  3. Who can unravel what is in one's mind?Unless one seeks help there is not much that can be done.Extreme depression manifests in some outward signs.People who are close should be alert to notice them.Tough indeed

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    1. Very true sir. As I mentioned earlier, it has to work both ways. People should express their concerns and people around should also be ready to help.

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  4. Many of the suicide cases, no one around them even knows about it. You never know what could lead a person to commit suicide..the latest I heard in my circles is of a cousin of a friend who is an engineering student and she is such a cutie pie with no problems that people know of. I can't imagine the plight of the parents.

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    1. We always think we're the only one burdened with troubles until we hear others pour their problems from the heart. We never know what could have lead them to take that extreme decision. If only they'd thought through it again!

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  5. This post has been selected for the Tangy Tuesday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

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  6. Lessons learnt! We must always offer help if something unusual is noticed. Powerful post, Ashwini.

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    1. Yes. We should make it clear that help will always be offered. Thank you.

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  7. Well written Ashwini. Most of the misfortunes happening because there is no one to really counsel them. I wrote about an experience recently (http://sibi-cyberdiary.blogspot.in/2013/09/a-few-birthday-thoughts.html)

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    1. True. Counselling is needed for a lot of issues these days and I think people should start going for it. Because some others might not necessarily have faced the same problems but they could at least give us a suggestion.

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  8. Yes, Suicide is cry for help & if its not coming in time, it would be too late. There is a free helpline 'SAHAI' in Bangalore to help such people undergoing stress,depression & those feeling low.
    One can now more at the following Facebook page-
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sahai-Helpline-91-80-25497777/247442978655084

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    1. Thanks for sharing the information Sir. I think more such helplines should come up and people should make use of it.

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  9. Maybe being on the other side, we fail to understand what goes on in the mind of someone depressed.... who is able to summon enough courage to kill themselves, than to fight our the current situation....

    I don't know... M not sure if there is a way to guess if someone is heading in that direction... coz we are all human, and sometimes, the smallest things hurt !

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    1. Well said Dwiti. Not everybody gets hurt for the same reason. Not everybody takes offence for a joke about them. Yet people do get hurt and worried even for the smallest things. For that we should know a person well, and only those near the person would be able to do so.

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  10. When I read stories about children committing suicide, about celebs and bright achievers, it dismays me. Somewhere as a society we failed them!

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    1. Yes Rachna. All these days I used to think otherwise, but now I realize the society plays an important part.

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  11. I feel, you friend knew what he was doing, and did not need any help or assistance from anybody, otherwise he would have asked for it.There must have been something about which he could not have done anything, or even sought the help from others. it must have been very private, and he knew there was no solution, and taking his life was the only way out for him. He must have given a lot of thought before he embarked on this mission. At least, he was successful in it, just imagine if he was not, then the physical pain and problems along with the mental pain, and God know what exactly his problem was, that also would have resurfaced, making life a real hell for him.
    The fact that he was so brilliant and successful in everything in his life,makes taking of his life also seem very well planned.
    May his soul rest in peace. We can be thankful that he did not leave behind a wife and some children to suffer and keep wondering what led him to take such a drastic decision.
    I think such people are not cowards, it needs lot of will power and courage to take one's life.
    As for his parents, i am sure they will never be able to understand this, and would forever be searching for the right answer.
    It is the same with celebrities, they are in pain, and no body can do anything for them for their mind set is like that, they cannot easily trust people, they want everything that we normal people want, only drawback for them is the celebrity tag which makes achieving these things very difficult for them.

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    1. Yes Rama ji. This incident totally shook me. He was no coward. Despite his brilliance I still can understand what cancerous thought might have driven him to take that extreme step. As I said earlier, people have to understand that there are people who are concerned about them and shouldnt keep everything to themselves and torture themselves to death.

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  12. May your friend's soul rest in peace and may god shower its blessings over the departed soul
    and I agree with Rama. coz for a person that he was highly educated, intelligent I am sure he must have tried his best to reason out every possible flip side of the dice. sometimes it so happens that no matter how hard we try there is just no way out. he must have in trapped in such a dilemma as well..
    You are right about being a helping hand, to be with someone in their darkest moment. we might not always be able to show them to the destination but it would be equally helpful if we could atleast lead them on a path out of their miseries..

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    1. Well said Jemina, We might not necessary have the solution, but i'm sure in some small way we might help them alleviate their troubles and lessen their burden.,

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  13. Many wailing and cries are unheard and or unnoticed.

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    1. And about time we stopped and paid heed to all those muffled voices.

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  14. Quite an eye opener this article. I also was under a mis-impression that its only weak willed people who fall victims of suicides.

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    1. Yes. Sadly they aren't the only ones who are vulnerable. Even the strongest ones are!

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  15. Sometimes, people who are close to you fail to understand the turbulence going inside you. It's really sad to read the growing statistics. Well written.

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    1. Yes Saru, We should be constantly aware of what is going on with our near and dear ones. We should look ut for signs of trouble and take action before it is too late.

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  16. good post and i agree with our friend rama totally..your blog is good and sensible buddy...best wishes always

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  17. A touching post and very true, we must offer our help. Even if we can avert one such death, would be the best thing done in life...

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    1. Exactly. Our small actions can make a world of a difference to others. We never know

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  18. suicides always pain me a lot..a life wasted like that..and I have seen many of them in my known people..I always say to everyone..life os very precious and every problem has a solution...

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    1. Yes Renu, somehow even after all this I believe there is a solution for everything. We have to look for it in the right place. People take so many things for granted, including their own lives.

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  19. Ashwini it is horrifying to read about suicides and that too of people who are more privileged and blessed than many others! Nice writing!

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    1. Exactly Sir. Despite knowing the amount of hard work that one has to put in to lead a successful life, and after all this, it pains to see the path that they've chosen.

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  20. well said...it does not take time to make a wrong move...but it also does not take time to help some one who is depressed...one moment of kind act can make a person rethink...

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    1. Definitely. One small action from our side would definitely make someone think of a decision again.

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  21. Suicide is such a grave issue and every post has something different to say.
    Your senior must have been someone who hid his feelings completely-it leads to cumulative pressure.Living the life of such a super hero can be taxing and when such a person feels overcome by a problem he does not want to lower his guard in front of anyone.But that is what professionals are there for-for God's sake!

    Going to follow you Ashwini.

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    1. You brought out a very valid point. There is more pressure on a successful person than on a normal person. Comparatively. But they should think well that, after all we're all human beings and we all come with our own faults and mistakes. Even a successful person is a human being.

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  22. You are spot on regarding the reason behind suicides. In 2007, I had written an article on the same (on a different blog, which I never share with ppl) and cited extreme pressure and no way out feeling forces one to take this extreme step. It can happen to strongest of hearts, to the brightest of students, to the smartest of professionals. Anyone. Recently we heard an Infy professional committing suicide leaving his wife and twins! Really sad.

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    1. Yes, it never seems to leave anyone behind. Again the answer would relate to a lot of factors. Parents, society, surroundings and the mindset of those around us. All this puts unnecessary pressure on people.And the incident that you mentioned, read about it, really sad. To think of the plight of the wife and his kids.

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