The growing apathy in Urban environments towards suicides is something that I feel so deeply about, that I could truly stand on the streets and scream out at people "HOW CAN YOU BE SO INDIFFERENT? DON"T YOU CARE?". But that wouldn't really help anyone, would it?
Today's DNA newspaper carried a headline that said "I want to kill myself."
My heart really weeps for Deepti Chauhan who killed herself as well as her five year old son on Saturday. She was just 31. She travelled up and down Mumbai's suburban trains for 8 hours, contemplating various methods to kill herself and her child. Can you imagine her loneliness and her pain? She was surrounded by people, yet all alone. Nobody knew what was going on inside her.
|File photo of Deepti Chauhan and her son.Picture courtesy NDTV|
A month back Nidhi Gupta killed herself and her two children by throwing them off the 19th floor of a high rise. In Bangalore, there was a series of suicides, one after the other. Mostly they were young peoople, living far away from home. They all had promising careers, were well educated and on the face of it, were happy people. Bangalore has now become the suicide capital of India. Research has shown that depression is the second biggest problem in India, after heart disease.
What I truly lament about is that reading about a suicide, creates perhaps a small stir, as one reads it in the newspaper, while sipping the morning coffee. "Oh so sad," we say (or sometimes don't even say that) and we turn the page, to something more interesting, perhaps Femina Miss India photographs or Kingfisher calender models ,splashed across page three has caught our fancy.
We all seem to suffer from the malady of apathy. We are so busy in our daily lives. We do not know who lives in the apartment or house, next door, anymore. We connect on facebook and we feel good about 'keeping in touch.'
The Hindi movie 'Jootha hi Sahi' has a scene that shows John Abraham talking the whole night to a girl who was suicidal. He saved her life.
However in real life, there is a huge dearth of volunteers in many of the suicide helplines. None of the volunteers in suicide helplines are paid and they do it, because they care deeply. In Bangalore, SAHAI is a well known helpline for suicide prevention and emotional distress. However, it functions only from 9.00.am to 6.00.pm and does not function on Sundays. Authorities agree that a suicidal person with a strong urge to kill themselves, will not wait until next morning, but they are helpless as already there is a dearth of volunteeers.
Where do WE (you and I) come into the picture, in all this? What can WE do? Volunteering in these helplines is an extremely difficult task and it is not easy at all. In fact, it must truly be one of the hardest tasks in the world. Besides, we all have our hectic lives that leaves no room for others, especially some people with emotional needs. " I have my own problems and my own life to lead, I really don't have time for this suicide nonsense. There are helplines to take care of it. Why should I bother? Besides, what can I do?" is probably what most people would say, as they get on with their careers, earning more money to buy bigger houses and fancier cars (What? don't look at me like that. It isn't a crime to be ambitious. I have slogged my butt off in college for this) , getting married, raising children (Of course my children deserve the best,I have worked hard for it), and a hundred other things that constitute 'life'.
The fact is ALL of us can indeed do something. We can care just a little bit more. All it takes is just a thought and just a little time to reach out to somebody and to make a new friend. See that person at the water cooler at work? Smile at him.See that girl who you always meet and greet with a smile? Say a hello to her. See that older woman with two children? Notice her and pay her a genuine compliment. See the young kid trying to be cool? Smile at him as well. Reach out from your cocoon. Be friendly. Be kind.
Sometimes that is all it takes. You may be saving a life.
If Deepti Chauhan or Nidhi Gupta had a friend whom they could call up,(obviously they had no support system from their families.They felt so alienated from their husbands, from the families and were so depressed and saw no hope that the only way 'out for them was to end their lives and those of their children), someone who would listen to their problems, someone kind enough to care, who knows they might have been alive today?
Free Love day is an event that is happening worldwide on 25th April to promote awareness about suicide and depression, as well as a Lifestyle to promote unconditonal love. (2,76,247 people have already joined in at the time of publishing this post) .This is what their page says:
I for sure, will be a part of this event.
Do you care enough to?
(If you do, please spread the word. Link back to the page or this article, write about it, blog about, Tweet it, buzz it, mail your friends, tell them..But please, please DO something)
PS: My second book ''Life is what you make it' is based on a true story and the protagonist in the book survives two suicide attempts.