Don’t sound shocked. But this is a feeling I get whenever I’ve had to carry news items of students committing suicides. Numerous reasons –depression, bi-polar personality, low morale, under achieving, getting below average scores, being caught cheating, for a theft, lying, barred from going somewhere or doing any activity; more so unfulfilled romance, etc, etc.
It’s sickening when a couple that held hands together, who sat chatting at a railway platform 2 yrs ago, leapt in front of a running local train. I am really not sure whether to extend my sympathies to them. I can’t identify with such people.
May be I sound harsh, but you too will wonder after reading about me, after all this why I never thought of wanting to committing suicide. I gave NO signals to my mother to want to come out of her stomach when she was carrying me. Despite it, my aai was asked to abort me. They say the foetus catches sensory messages, may be even I did get the message I wasn’t wanted. Never realised till later date why mother held a grudge against me. She told me it was because I rejected her breast milk. Now I may be called drama queen, but for years I held it against my aai, that she rejected me & justified not accepting her milk. It was all too late for anything that could rectified reg child birth crises. We had to deal with the reality that we were mother & daughter who were alike in many ways…which we did & she surely knows she can depend on me…for me my parents mean the world to me. But we worked it out.
Now about me, I grew up into a weak unhealthy child, suffering from multiple physical ailments. Plus I have been a late bloomer. So by the time my peers had developed or at least showed to do so, I was in some dreamland. SO I guess they lost patience with me. From this arose many clashes & unhealthy competition.
In my eyes the world was cruel. All conspiring to stop me from playing. Plus my parents either planned or by mistake got 2 daughters in the shortest age span of 1.25 years! So there were 2 daughters like chalk & cheese. One round, healthy, brilliant at studies, unerring concentration, never left her seat, shrewd who knew how to get things done & always came in top 2 slots.
This meant 13 years from nursery level to 10th, I was ONLY told how bad I was & how good my sister was. I was told she was a role model. In school I would have erased her from this planet!. I earned medals for my school & I’m proud to say my principal remembers it to date … but that school never ever mentioned it. I was a black listed student.
Yes, I cheated, copied, I stole some stupid books worth Rs 5, some tale teller complained to my sister. Now the sister she is, she told my parents. I saw her as someone who wanted to be in the good books of aai-baba. All she was doing was just being obedient. So she became my target & despised her. The perspective changed by the time we went to college..but the initial years instead of being friendly went in fighting.
I give it to Amol Guptey who first conceptualised Taare zameen par. I was like the main character of that film. Always outside the class, lost in my dreams, I would think I was a bird, who one would fly away from all these troubles & terrorising people. I had nightmares, wet my bed, had emotional problems, my studies graph was volatile, good at sports, but never recognised.
In that too, I was fascinated by reading, general knowledge, always thought that was more important than anything else. I loved playing, did well in some things, learnt to cook really tasty food & by the time i was in 9th i was sure i would be a journalist. .
I learnt things that I look back & realise helped me tremendously. Yes, I developed complexes, like I said there were only achievers around me, family & school class. In this mess, at some point of time there was abuse too. I won’t discuss it here. But it left deep scars.
The main lesson i learnt was, to survive under any circumstances. I can rough it out, be alert in middle of the night, go alone anywhere, keen sense of direction, aware of my rights and I can deal with my problems, tackle experiences depending on each situation. More so overall as a human being I learnt lots. The most important thing was we were compelled to choose alternatives. Either good or bad, as a result we learnt to face the consequences. Killing or taking life was NEVER on the list, rather never even crossed our minds. I often wonder despite being depressed, low in esteem, poor health why I never tried taking my life? I never thought of throwing myself in front a car, getting lost, or any such thing?
I only knew one thing-I ALWAYS got into trouble. I was extremist from day one. I thought of beating, yes had & still have tremendous physical strength & mental strategy of getting people into trouble. I had to fight for my rights always. As a woman in the field of media especially among the first tv journalists in Bombay & Maharashtra, it wasn’t easy to break into the male domination. Every second man would try to hit on me. Mostly married men. Bosses who wanted physical favours from me. I suffered in terms of not getting promotions, increments, again tried to make me feel worthless. But I NEVER gave up. I quit the job, may be you can call me loser, but I would rather have self respect than more money.
Earlier too I never contemplated anything drastic. See, a child who is abused is NOT aware what is happening to her. How can we expect such children to be normal or mentally fit? But I really never thought of dying or killing myself. I was definitely someone who needed care, attention, whether I got sufficient amount or not, is NOT the criteria to judge the situation. At that time in society or till then, may be child psychology had not developed in India. I still don’t think it has matured. Our parents never interfered or intervened. They left us to deal with our lives & outcomes. We won, we lost, we cried, we feared, we were beaten & we learnt to beat too.
But the one thing we learnt was to Live through it all. We never thought of taking lives or killing myself. NEVER. Yes, scarred I was for years, had absolutely low self-esteem..all till I went to college. Life was much more comfortable, but suffered tremendously. This took toll on my personal life. My first romance, which I felt came closest to me wanting to get domesticated was not fulfilled. But I found friends, I found books, I found music. I created things, I took pictures, did things that made me happy. I had friends who told me where I was going wrong, where I was fantastic, where I was invaluable.
But importantly, my friend Altaf told me a v important thing. You are NOT the only one to suffer or go through such experiences. Don’t unnecessarily make yourself feel so important. People have suffered similar or even worse experiences, gone through it all & lived on. This is the most important lesson. Who do we think we are? What do we deserve? Once we realise we are just beings, a vital link in the chain of society, each is a vital link in the link of society & individually no less or more that really gives a perspective to us as humans & our living.