26th Mar, 1995. Nothing special about that date. Nothing at all. A usual day at IIT Kanpur. In my fourth year and last one also. It was a tough journey to make it the last one. I know lot of people think that it is tough to get into IIT and only people like me know that it is tough to get out also.
But anyway let me get back to that date, the topic with which I started. A usual day in college. The end of graduation was in sight and there was sadness associated with going away from lot of friends but then lot of excitement associated with starting professional life which will come with responsibilities and even more freedom. Infact in our last semester we had an interesting thought process which flashed across lot of us. The basic idea was that this was the last option to blow your parent’s money. When you start earning your own, the equation changes. So all of us used to spend lot of money in the last semester. It was almost as if we were taking a revenge from our parents for bringing us up.
Oh Boy! Somebody please, somebody get me back to to the topic I started with. So somebody died that day. But that somebody was not just somebody. Somebody we called Akka, elder sister in Tamil. And even the death was not ordinary. It was a suicide. And that was even more painful to see. Somebody you see laughing and joking everyday was actually carrying a sorrow so deep that it missed all of us. Isn’t that something which happens with lot of us. We carry sorrows, some of them very deep, within us and some time they can kill you, mentally as well as physically.
So the police systems kicked in. Postmortem was needed to confirm the reason for death and police had to do lot of formalities. As per laws if a women does within 7 years of marriage, investigations need to happen if dowry was not the cause for death. And I was with the body at the hospital mortuary for finishing all the formalities. Hallet Hospital in Kanpur is not the most complicated place. The mortuary has dead bodies all over the place, most of them just kept on the ground in open. They are taken one by one inside and then it is cut open to figure out what caused the death. When people are alive, these things are done in a way that we cause minimum pain but the equation changes when people turn into dead bodies. They can’t feel the pain and they can be cut and stitched in anyway people like.
A police photographer came over to click the photos of the dead body. I was standing by and just remembering about the Akka who was inside that dead body just few hours ago. He says that the face is not coming properly in the picture so we need to get it a little bit higher. And his solution was simple, as a regular dead body photographer will have. He asked a policeman to keep a brick under the head so that the face is clearly visible in the picture.
And as I heard that, my mind went through all the lovely memories of time spent together. Cooking in her home, laughing over nonsense things, gossiping over anybody and everybody, attending her marriage in Delhi, singing Attaullah Khan as response to Carnatic music in her marriage and many more. Now that person is a thing. People can put a brick under her head to take a better picture because she breathes no more. As if putting a brick was like saying “Smile Please” to somebody. I just stopped the policemen who was about to pick up the brick. I held the head in my hands which I had seen laughing so many times and lifted it gently not to cause her any pain. Breath or no breath, I care for your pain. And that day changed me, a little visibly and a lot inside.
So over the years I have seen lot of young lives lost to suicide and I am planning to make an effort from my side to help atleast some of them. The idea is to collect lot of stories where people have turned around their life from a point of total despair to something great. The goal is to take lot of these stories to lot of kids who can get inspired and turn around their life.
I need the following help from anybody who is reading this.
1. If you know somebody who has turned around his/her life after attempting a suicide, please connect me up. We can keep it totally confidential if the person wants it to.
2. I need connects with publishers if you know somebody.
3. Will need lot of help in promoting this book when I am done
My partners in crime are two dear friends. One of them is Naveen who has been doing wonderful work of putting together lot of such stories on a blog and another partner is Anita Gracias who has been helping so many people in distress via her work for Sahay.
Let us begin….