17 January 2005

On the edge

Posted by Hello

Most people have been there, at one time or the other. Also, everyone's thought that no one has had it as bad as them. Some come back, some don’t. But how does it feel to be there? What does it take to end it all? Just how many dreams have to be crushed, how many humiliations, how many people to not have by when you need them the most …

In my bluest of blue times, I have never actually thought of killing myself. I was born to live. Almost all of us are. What is the psyche, then, that goads some of us on to death? Maybe it's cruel of me, but I cant bring myself to sympathise with the suicidal. Suicide means absolute acceptance of hopelessness. If you can be so strong about being negative, why not be strongly positive, instead? Not that I am a raving 'positive thinking' kind of person. No amount of positive thinking will wish away your pain. If you feel rejuvenated by some feel-good book or talk, rest assured, it's just momentary. It's just a trick your mind is playing on you, so you get a breather, so you 'forget,' and get on with life. Yes, your brain does try to 'forget' things for you, which is good. But never force yourself to forget – else you will remember each excruciating detail.

Coming back to suicide: look around you, hasn’t there always been at least one person who's braving the storm and still smiling? Also, had anyone promised you that life is going to be a cakewalk? It's fine to be complaining about life, but is it that cheap to toss it away? People struggle, so they can live. And here I am with my broken heart, and think about nothing except my miseries. And cry that the world is going by without giving a damn about me. Honey, have you given the world a chance? You just slammed the door on its face. All of us who think that we got the worst deal, well, wake up. If it's a farmer in a Third World country, then I would probably not deny him the resentment (far too many things are going wrong for him, and setting these right is a global challenge), but not anyone else.

Am I wrong in the way I feel about suicide? Maybe life is simply too scarred for some. Maybe the beyond holds more promises than the present. Maybe. But too many things in my brain say I am right about this. The system could be freaking rotten. But by killing myself, I make it all the more unbearable for the people I leave behind. Kin of such people are doomed to a sense of guilt for life. The question that will haunt them forever is: "Didn’t I listen enough? If only I had done this, probably she would be living today …"

When each cell of a living organism is built to fight the battles of survival, how can some humans defy this basic instinct? And if suicide is a failure of the individual, the society, and Nature even, does making it legally punishable help? If a person does not have the right to end his life, how does the State get that right?

Death defines life. It is the knowledge about the temporal nature of life that makes it so beautiful and desirable. The gods envy us (Remember the line from Troy?), for we have life. And we have death. But the painful part is, it seems we have a choice.

Jeene ke liye socha hi nahin, dard sambhalane honge
Muskuraye to muskurane ki karz utarane honge.


Anonymous said...

I agree.

Life is too precious for it to be thrown away.

Some people just don't see that one person can make a difference and that one person could be you.

Suicide is an act of a coward.

- Swaroop

Me said...

hey viji,
interesting POV... like the way u went about reiterating ur point. I agree with you but i guess i've never felt like i was teetering so close to the edge and unconsciously always knew i had somebody or something to cling to. But what if there is nobody and the sombodys don't care... what if some of us have a lower threshold for pain... what if the way the world sees us becomes too much... what if... i feel there is no going back?

Vijayalaxmi said...

Swaroop: Nice to see you here again. What I meant was slightly different. Those who commit suicide do not see life in its entirety. They fall for the dark side of it. For them, life is monchrome.

Roopa: Hiya, at last I see the virtual you. I would never dare dismiss anyone's pain as surmountable, as something that can be dealt with. Some situations escape all positive thinking theories. But do we enter the world with a warranty promising our lives would be a cakewalk? To quite a few people, pain is very true. It's a daily reality. As I said, the beyond may seem more tempting than the prsent.

But what I tried to ask/express through this post was how most of us learn to deal with trauma, and how/why some don't. We have a place for happiness in our lives, but no place for pain, failure, etc. By default, we are supposed to be happy. That's what most people who commit suicide assume. Just trying to say that life is and can be otherwise, too.

Praveen Bhat said...

Although its true that one can't feel the depths of other's pain, *suicide* sounds good only in the title song of M*A*S*H (Suicide is painless!)

(Caveat: the following may sound "easier said than done" or *weird*) I've always been of the opinion that the pain hurts a lot more than, perhaps, it should because one attaches oneself too much to happiness. Thus, happiness becomes a routine and anything making one less happy causes pain. This would mean in itself, one reduces the threshold of pain!

Sham said...

I think it takes lots of courage to think about suicide. But, it does not take much to decide against it. In most cases, living in misery is more comfortable than ending the miserable life.Hence, for me its always that one solution I dare not take. Its alluring. Checkout my ode to suicide.

Sudarshan said...

Interesting post Viju....
I always considered suicide as an act of cowardice and branded people commiting suicide as selfish. Now I discover how wrong I was....if you delve deep into what life is all about, you'll note that nothing is in your hands.

Vijayalaxmi said...

Suicide is neither an act of cowardice nor bravery. My question remains: we are genetically programmed to live. How then does an indvidual overcome these inbuilt life instincts and embrace death? What sets those neurotransmitters (got the term from my med friend there on the doodle board) off? My belief too remains: Those who commit suicide have a monochrome vision of life.

Mar said...

Thanks for posting a comment on my blog. :) Anyway, I agree with your view on suicide, and I really enjoy your writing style.

Vijayalaxmi said...

I am so sorry about this Mar, but I cant place you. Especially, because your profile is inaccessible.

Sudarshan said...

I didnt mean that....if you ponder, suicide is one of those things which is beyond your control....just like murder, accident etc.,....instinctive, like for example a comment that you make in haste and repent later but an act that is irreversible....

Swapnil Deopurkar said...

I have seen people almost kill themselves.
Close friends. Really close.
(In fact now that I write this, I wonder if I am the common link :) )
Each one has been a different case, different reasons.
Have come to realize that whatever it is that makes people want to kill themselves, its temporary.
Life bounces back.
If it does not shatter on impact that it.
For some its utter contempt for life that makes them kill themselves, some wanna end it because they are so passionate about living that the returns look worthless.
Whatever it is, each one of them, I feel, wants to die temporaryly. Sadly it doesnot work that way.
I also feel that the will to live is so strong that it just needs one act of reassurance, faith in living, one smile, one hug for it to resurface again.
As a person who's faild to do it (not once but more) I sometimes feel guilty.
Have decided, kind of, to make constant effort to make up for it.

Vijayalaxmi said...


Anonymous said...

You're an idiot.