Forgive me for this title, but the storm that brews in my head would not let me choose another, simpler one. As most of you might have guessed by now, this post has to do with the death, rather suicide, by a young boy in Mumbai, who chose to video-record himself just before jumping off the window of his luxury room at a prominent five-star hotel where he had checked in.
I had heard of this incident couple of days ago when it occurred and had silently resolved to myself that I would never watch the video he had shot of himself, for I knew how potent that video could be in destroying my peace of mind. However, in the wake of posts from my friends and family, most of whom did not find the video-graphing and its content appropriate, my curiosity for the video increased manifold. Thanks to Youtube, I watched it today and trust me, I couldn’t have been more correct about its potential impact on my brain. I have been thinking about what may have been going on in the boy’s head when he recorded himself drinking directly from the alcohol bottle or smoking anxiously or savoring ‘bacon pasta’ or watching the ‘fucking view’ of the sun setting from his hotel room, just before he took the leap, something he admits he may not be able to record.
The video really pained my heart. I wonder how the boy’s parents must have felt, looking at their son in his last moments, helpless because the harm had already been done. The bigger question here is that why and how the mental state of the boy went unnoticed, even when he may have had hundreds and thousands of contacts on social media, as most of us these days do? Why did no one, who may have known what the boy was going through, inform his parents or guardians about his mental health? Why should the parents deserve to know of their son’s plight only after he has died? This is a sad state of affairs in a country which boasts of young intellectuals, eager to carve their own future from scratch.
I do not intend to talk about mental illnesses in this post because we know that they exist and pervade the broader spectrum of disabilities, both in India and worldwide. We know that a lot of people survive on anti-depressants, something they can never even think of kicking all their lives. We know how many lives depression claims every year. We know all of that and therefore, repetition is unnecessary.
What we don’t know or would like to know is that where are we headed? As a mother of a toddler and sister of two young adults, who choose to barely communicate with me or my parents, how am I expected to sleep in peace? It’s not just this boy, but so many others who fell prey to the superficial pressures of this modern world, its made-up ambition and our general inability to admit our own weaknesses. Why did someone not squeeze his shoulders and tell him “It’s OK if you can’t cope with this pressure. It’s only part of life.” Why did someone not tell him to meet a counselor, who could help him analyse his problems and skilfully steer him through those? Clearly the boy could have afforded private and good-quality counselling sessions. Could he not?
What saddens me most is the fact that the mask we wear on our faces all the time has now begun to talk its toll on our lives, our sanity and our relationships. How I wish he had confided in someone who could help him understand that this was but a ‘phase’ in life which would like all others, pass and make way for so many others to come. I recall how desperately I had wanted to end my life in the middle of an episode of post-partum depression, that had set in only couple of weeks after my son was born. I still remember how I had begun to form rationalizations in my head in an attempt to justify to myself, how the world would be better-off in my absence rather than with me in it. With a fake smile on my face and desperate attempts to prove to the rest of the world that everything was fine, no one, really no one, could have even guessed what state I was in.
If it was not for my mother in that period, I don’t think I would be here to write this post now. She told me very clearly that “I or any other being, for that matter, is un-deserving of claiming something one does not have the power to grant – life. What I cannot restore, I cannot seek.” These words helped me then and they still do, at least in terms of restoring clarity in my head every time panic sets in.
As I have reached pretty much the end of this post, I strongly urge people to understand the true worth of a human life and accordingly, value not only their own, but the life of every other man that lives. Even if one life can be saved, it’s an accomplishment by all means.
I choose to end with a couple of lines of poetry:
Weep and cry and wail,
Shed all your tears.
It’s not at all a weakness,
To accept your fears.
Remember it’s just a phase,
Put in a tough fight.
For at the end of the tunnel,
There must always be light.
Image taken from Google images