Monday, April 18, 2011

Save a life--it costs you nothing. Post 18


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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:

Statistically, for every suicide there are ELEVEN attempts. And the truth is that we don't know who wants to, will try to, or will take their life.

What's the answer to this? Love is one. Here, love means an action and decision to unconditionally practice patience, kindness, and humbleness towards people. Sharing your story with people, because we all have one. To open up so no one feels alone.

SO HERE'S THE DEAL: On April 25th, put a heart on your wrist to signify that you will wear your heart on your sleeve and observe a LIFESTYLE of love. ASK SOMEONE HOW THEY'RE DOING. TELL PEOPLE YOU LOVE THEM AND DO IT. Nobody should have to feel so bad about themselves that they take their own life, so let's give them a reason not to! Let's change the world on April 25th!

If you accept this challenge, pass it on; let's make this day as big as we can.



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)
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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.

27 comments:

  1. Today Iam first to read your post perhaps. Great one, as mostly they are:-)
    This was indeed really requred to spread awareness.

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  3. Thanks for this post Preeti.. love can really make a difference.

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  4. I don't see how depressed people would benefit or even notice a smile or a compliment from a total stranger.. I like the thought behind your post but its not really how that works..while we can be more attentive to people in our close circle of family and friends and look out for tell- tale signs of depression.. just being kind and caring to random people is no solution and you can't bring down suicide tolls this way.

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  5. Good post... I really do not understand how people even consider doing SUICIDE. There may be so many ppl who live 10 times worse life than these people. I agree with you, if we all can atleast drop the "ME" attitude and atleast smile and talk to someone ,who knows they may just open up and share thier troubles and feel light. I disagree with namita and feel that even sometimes it is a small gesture that makes us happy and that someone can be a total stranger. It is the least we can do. I will definitely put a link in my blog

    --Seema

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  6. A hard hitting fact writing in a simple way.. nice work..

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  7. Nik: Thank you.

    Seema: I completely agree with you.

    Namita: Absolutely no comments.

    Tara: it 100% can!

    Sushma: Thank you!

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  8. It's really heartening to see someone in a position to make a significant difference actually doing something about it.
    I really look up to you.

    I'm definitely a part of the free love day. I have come to believe that depression is a real issue. Seen close friends going through rough patches lately, even a few suicide attempts that they tried to hide. It does take a lot to make them see the bright side. Sometimes, they spiral so deep, it's extremely draining for the person who is trying to help!
    As for me, I agree with you: smile at a neighbour, never hold back a compliment and show you care.

    I've sort of discussed the same in my latest blog post. Maybe you'd like to check it out: http://sleepykidlivingadream.blogspot.com/2011/04/midnight-venting-on-war-and-peace.html

    I'm in for the 25th! Let's spread the word!

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  9. I am glad that you have reflected very well with your writing about the very need of a depressed person. just a smile and talk in little time will spread lot of positive energy and give them relief. let us all participate in free love day not only on 25th but all 365 days.

    every depressed person choose to leave a note at some place, in this net based world facebook, mails, blog, twitter are also the place where they leave an indirect note and look for support & interaction. i know few persons who do this even a star on twitter.

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  10. Your writing did a purpose today, i admire such writings with social thoughts.

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  11. An extremely thought provoking and well written post. Nobody should be driven to a point where they want to take their own lives and yet so many people are. We can do more. Thanks for stimulating some action.

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  12. I like all your posts but this one really touched me. “Reaching out from your cocoon” not only helps others because you are friendly and nice to them, it also helps you because you end up feeling good yourself – so if you yourself are not going through a happy phase in your life, chatting with people, smiling at them and especially talking/playing with kids really really cheers you up (I’ve tried it and it always works !)
    Sometimes a little bit of empathy and someone to listen to you is all one needs !

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  13. Inspiring & a must-read post...I am sure that at least 6 out of 10 people reading this and such posts would do just what is required for them to do - smile and reach out...and we never know how many could benefit with such selfless little acts.
    Where nidhi and deepti are concerned, I dont understand what could drive them to take not just their life, but the lives of their innocent and helpless children as well...but then, only God knows...!
    I'm in too...and I do really care! Will do my little bit, definitely...Thanx preeti!

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  14. An inspiring post for sure...and I did read Namita's comment, and this is what I feel...sometimes, it's not really depression, but just a real low time in life that makes you wonder if it'd be alright if you ended you life...if anyone would really care...and if someone managed to get through that gloom with a smile, a hug, a loving word...I am sure it would make a lot of difference. Just a personal opinion!

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  15. Most of the suicides occur on the spur of the moment. If they give a second thought abt it they can definitely escape frm death. Who knows sometimes a smile or a simple 'hello', from us can help even a stranger to think that life is worth living, that tomorrow will be a better day for him/er. It might not succeed always but atleastif one person is affected, we would have helped to save a life. I firmly believe this.
    Great post Preeti.

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  16. Ariel: I so agree with all you have said.Some of the suicides are indeed spur of the moment.And yes, sometimes a smile makes such a lot of difference. I agree so much that even if one person is benefitted it is worth it.

    Caterpillar: Completely agree.Sometimes it is just a very very low phase that a person is going through.It is not that you smile at a depressed person and they become magically ok.Of course, that would be so naive. But yes, we can be kinder in ur words, deeds, actions.

    SK: Well--who would look after their children once they are gone? They felt responsible as they were primary care givers. Her children is sometimes all that a woman has. She cannot imagine leaving them to fend for themselves in a cruel world. Thanks for your words of encouragement SK--much appreciate.

    Ruchira: i so so so agree!

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  17. Ramesh:Thanks so much.

    Venkat: Thanks so much.I agree that kindness and love can be practised all 365 days.

    Sucheta: You're the wind beneath my wings! :) I could seriuosly sing that to you what with all the admiration you shower on me :) Thanks so much.Surely will read your post. And yes you are so right about it being draining and emotinally exhausting.

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  18. Nice Message,

    i am supporting the moment on 25th Apr and any other day if i have to support.

    As recently i lost one of my friend (Family of 4 suicides in Pune- This guy was my office mate some 5 years back)

    You have lovely day.... if we have a smile, some one else might get infected and will also end up smiling.

    Cheers,
    Anish

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  19. hi preeti
    have been following your post since last week.was actually feeling very lonely and depressed that day when i stumbled that day thru yr blogs..It actually made my day kept reading yr mama moments for two days..liked yr relation with yr children and was once again assured that my decision to leave my job for my four year old is correct.have been so imspired by you that i have started writing ..just to vent out my feelings ..
    so thanks.. u have already done yr part .made atleast one person feel that there's more to life...and it can be lived every moment
    thanks.

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  20. It's my daily habit to talk to the person in the elevator at work - however many times I take it.

    It's also my habit to always smile and say hello to the cashier at a store.

    I always talk to old people I meet anywhere - I find them the most lonely and in need of a hello.

    Sometimes, kids here in the US are lonely too. They love attention and a conversation, and I am never shy :).

    If my intuition is not wrong, I am currently in the process of pulling someone out of the spiral.

    My dad and mom went through depression...and dad has epilepsy as a result of it. The reasons were work related, but as his family, we have to deal with it lifetime. I KNOW first-hand how it is. Just last weekend dad passed out twice and was in hospital....we always fear if the trigger was caused by anything we did.

    So now that my bragging is done :), thank you for writing this post.

    I accept the challenge, and will do my part to spread the word.

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  21. awesome post, like earlier ones, true, awareness must be spread... i am ready to do this... and surely will...

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  22. It is very sad to see such incidents happening around us. One solution that can work out is spreading awareness through schools, offices and community occasions. Media also needs to place some spotlight on how suicide is not the only answer. Bloggers like you and me can spread the word around. These small steps are the only ways to curb such ill-occurrences.

    Last but certainly not the least, it was a very good post and it happens to be the first one I read on your blog. I'd be following your blog to read many more interesting material being posted by you. Great work.. Keep it up!

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  24. Nice article

    I totally understand when namita says "I don't see how depressed people would benefit or even notice a smile"

    "Caring" not necessarily means kind words or smiles. It also means being "harsh" and "rude" to enable proper medical intervention.Many people think that kind words and smiles can help people with clinical depression and that's not the case.At the same time I don't discount the power of being sensitive to people around you.

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  25. Jenga: You and Namita are discussing an angle which is at a completely different tangent from the core message of the post. And no, I am neither going to justify nor explain.

    Shrikant: Thanks a lot. I agree completely about speading awareness.

    Shachi: What you are doing is indeed invaluable and precious. Much appreciate.

    Sheetal: Really glad that my words helped somebody! Glad you found inspiration :)

    Anish: I so agree that we can spread smiles around. Urban apathy is a huge disease and a silent killer and the sad part if one does not even realise one if infected.

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  26. Hi Preeti...actually its very glad to see reply of published author :).

    maybe yes.. my discussion is bit off track..

    I am going to purchase "Life is What you make it" today.seems to be something related to my own struggle..

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  27. I myself had gone through depression...and had decided to end my life.....but there were few supporters like my sister, Preeti, Jack uncle and by best friend Prema.....

    I owe this life to them......they have been there with me....when everyone else had left....

    They helped to restore my faith.....and gave a new meaning to my life!!!!
    My views on this..
    http://gsaptekar84.blogspot.com/2011/04/dont-give-uplife-is-indeed-beautiful.html

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