To any­one who has had sui­ci­dal thoughts this past year, I am glad you are still here. Keep hold­ing on.

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Leisure - SONAL KALRA Sonal Kalra has noth­ing to say af­ter wit­ness­ing the above. May ev­ery­one in love have a long life. But just in case…. Send your feed­back at sonal.kalra@hin­dus­tan­ or face­ Fol­low on Twit­ter @son­al­kalra

Amid quite the ta­masha that en­sued Aamir Khan’s ‘in­tol­er­ant In­dia’ re­mark that hogged head­lines all of last week, a smaller news item on the in­side page of the news­pa­per caught my eye. And then my breath. A 39-year-old soft­ware pro­fes­sional in Noida com­plained of chest pain and un­easi­ness in the morn­ing. When taken to the hos­pi­tal, the doc­tors de­clared him dead due to a mas­sive heart at­tack. His 36-year-old home­maker wife was in ut­ter shock. She came back from the hos­pi­tal, went up on the eighth floor of their apart­ment build­ing and jumped from the ter­race. And died. It was an un­be­liev­ably sad piece of news but read­ing till here still didn’t numb my senses. The next sen­tence did. The couple left be­hind their only child, a five-year-old daugh­ter, who was bliss­fully play­ing at the neigh­bour’s house when the cops came knock­ing, broke the news that both her par­ents are dead, and handed her over to rel­a­tives. There. The piece of news ended but left me, and I’m sure a mil­lion oth­ers, with a deep sense of sad­ness and a sink­ing feel­ing for the child. Now I know noth­ing more about this par­tic­u­lar case, and it would just not be right to sit on judg­ment on the cir­cum­stances that made the woman take such a step. But the in­ci­dent does leave me with a lot of stress, and a lot of ques­tions. And one big, dark truth — We, the smart, savvy, for­ward-think­ing, wise hu­man beings plan ev­ery lit­tle de­tail of ev­ery­thing, but not our death. Death is neg­a­tive, death is dark,

death is not to be thought about. The younger we are, the more taboo a mere men­tion of this word be­comes in our dis­cus­sions with fam­ily or loved ones. But you know what, some­one up there clearly doesn’t be­lieve in bump­ing us off in chrono­log­i­cal or­der. A few months back, I wrote in this col­umn about our ill-pre­pared­ness in terms of most peo­ple not keep­ing their spouses in­formed about how to deal with fi­nances in case of their sud­den death. This week, I want to talk about our ill pre­pared­ness in terms of never get­ting our loved ones emo­tion­ally ready for some­thing like this.

1 DON’T RUN AWAY FROM THE MEN­TION OF DEATH: Yes, it’s a dis­turb­ing thought to even pon­der about. In a sur­vey about what peo­ple fear the most in life, ‘death of a loved one’ ranked among the high­est, across the world. So it’s per­fectly un­der­stand­able if the thought it­self stresses you out. But then do think of the stress the same loved ones may have to un­dergo if you sud­denly van­ish from their lives one day. May such a day never comes be­fore time, but preparing our­selves and oth­ers around us by talk­ing about it isn’t a bad idea. Just do it sen­si­tively — you don’t want to get ev­ery­one senti and have a cry­ing drama around you. That’ll take away the fo­cus from what you wish to do.

2 EM­POWER YOUR FAM­ILY: We don’t know the real rea­son but a lot of peo­ple would think that the woman who com­mit­ted sui­cide right af­ter her hus­band died may have com­pletely pan­icked think­ing about how she will fend for her­self and the lit­tle daugh­ter. It may sound clichéd but that’s where the need for all adults in a fam­ily to be fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent takes promi­nence. It doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean both part­ners need to be em­ployed. Be­ing a home­maker is a lovely, im­por­tant oc­cu­pa­tion in it­self. But this means that if a couple has con­sciously de­cided that one of them would take up a job and the other would stay at home and take care of the kids, the in­come still gets di­vided be­tween the two.

A friend of mine fol­lowed a neat sys­tem of trans­fer­ring 50% of his in­come (af­ter tak­ing care of the ex­penses) in his home­maker wife’s bank ac­count ev­ery month. Some of us used to joke about why is there a need for him to do that but his logic was sim­ple… both of them are work­ing, and both of them have to be earn­ing. Why should his wife be ask­ing him for money ev­ery month when she’s an equal part­ner in the run­ning of the house­hold. They may have been lead­ing life a bit too for­mally but never once did we see a flicker of fi­nan­cial in­se­cu­rity on his wife’s face. And God for­bid if some­thing were to sud­denly hap­pen to ei­ther of them, the other one would not have to run around look­ing for bank pass­words to take care of im­me­di­ate ex­penses.

3 DON’T GLO­RIFY SUI­CIDE, EVEN AS A JOKE: Dhyaan se suno ek minute. Since time im­memo­rial, our films and pop­u­lar lit­er­a­ture have ex­pressed deep love through a dec­la­ra­tion of ro­mance that’s log­i­cally, sci­en­tif­i­cally, and prac­ti­cally faulty — ‘I can’t live with­out you’. The hero or the hero­ine pro­fess love and claim through songs and poetry through decades that they won’t be able to sur­vive a sin­gle minute with­out their loved one. One man­i­fes­ta­tion of this oth­er­wise ro­man­tic thought is that com­mon peo­ple started equat­ing the ex­tent of love with the ex­pres­sion about the in­abil­ity to sur­vive with­out each other. This, when ev­ery­one knows that no one dies, or should die, if some­thing un­for­tu­nate were to hap­pen to their part­ner. The seem­ingly harm­less ro­man­tic jar­gon some­times clouds our com­mon sense. Here’s an ac­tual con­ver­sa­tion be­tween me and a couple when I asked them what ex­actly will they do if one of them died sud­denly (sorry I know I sound so heart­less do­ing this, but look at

the an­swers!)

Wife: Oh God, what a hor­ri­ble ques­tion. Bhag­waan na kare inko kuchh ho. He will have a long life. Touch wood (touches the sofa, made of wrought iron!).

Me: Of course, he will. But ask­ing what you’ll do, just in case.

Wife: Gosh, I don’t know. My life would end. I’ll some­how sur­vive only for the sake of the kids.

Me: Okay, but how will you deal with the fi­nan­cials?

Wife: Kuchh in­sur­ance wa­garah hogi. Papa ko pata hoga (re­fer­ring to the fa­ther in law who is al­ready 82)

Me (to the hus­band): What would you do if she died sud­denly?

Hus­band: (shakes his head, smil­ing)

Wife: He toh will re­marry within six months.

Hus­band: No, no. I can’t live with­out you. I’ll end my life to come right af­ter you.

Wife: Sachhi? Wow, I love you Jaanu.

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