Re­mem­ber the song: ‘We’re all in the same game, just dif­fer­ent lev­els. Deal­ing with the same hell, just dif­fer­ent devils’

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Time Out - SONAL KALRA sonal.kalra@hin­dus­tan­times.com or face­book.com/son­al­kalraof­fi­cial. Fol­low on Twit­ter @son­al­kalra

If any of you heard, read, or worse yet, saw the on­line video of sui­cide by a young man, Ar­jun Bhard­waj, in Mum­bai ear­lier this week, you would re­late more to what I am go­ing to talk about to­day. Yes, there have been big­ger news items for the world to worry about. But, the sad death Ar­jun met with is sin­gu­larly the most dis­turb­ing in­ci­dent I’ve come across in months. It makes me sad, it makes me an­gry, it dis­turbs me no end, to see yet an­other young life los­ing the bat­tle to de­pres­sion. And it’s worse that de­spite hav­ing one of the high­est rates of sui­cide in the world owing to de­pres­sion, there’s an un­be­liev­able lack of aware­ness and em­pa­thy to­wards those deal­ing with men­tal health is­sues. For all the cheer­ful ex­te­rior I ex­hibit, I’ve been a pa­tient of de­pres­sion, and I know how it feels when peo­ple brush aside the hol­low feel­ing in­side you with a ca­sual, “be pos­i­tive” ad­vice. You can’t, re­ally can’t blame them, but you’ll surely have your­self to blame if you lose pre­cious days of your life in de­lay­ing the process of seek­ing pro­fes­sional help to deal with sui­ci­dal thoughts. As a colum­nist, I can only write about it and give my two bits of gyan, but the only two peo­ple who can re­ally help you if you feel sui­ci­dal are your coun­sel­lor/doc­tor, and your­self. To­day in this col­umn, I am re­peat­ing an open let­ter that I wrote some­time back to a young man, who had con­fided hav­ing sui­ci­dal thoughts in a mail to me. I just hope some­where, in some small way, it may help an Ar­jun Bhard­waj for not hit­ting the news the sad way he did.

Dear M, Re­lax, I’m not go­ing to write about who you are and what you wrote in your e-mail to me. In fact, I’m not even go­ing to talk about your life or the prob­lems that are mak­ing you feel like end­ing it. I’ll talk about my life, if that’s fine with you.

When I got your mail, I wrote back that you’re seek­ing ad­vice from the wrong per­son. I, and surely many of those read­ing this right now, would have, at some point in life, got so fed up of prob­lems that we’d have thrown up our hands in the air and said things like, “What’s the use of such a life?” Some of us have had trou­bled child­hood or a su­per-stressed stu­dent life, with un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions of us. Some have wit­nessed do­mes­tic abuse to the ex­tent that ‘happy fam­ily’ movies seem like mean, teaser, fairy tales. Some want to die be­cause they are not get­ting mar­ried… some be­cause they have got mar­ried. And some are in real bad phys­i­cal pain. The rea­sons vary.

The so­lu­tion in our mind is to end the pain by tak­ing our life. But still we are all here, crowd­ing the earth and adding to the pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion. Here’s the thing. I don’t know about your prob­lems. To me, my prob­lems seem like the worst. And still I won’t end my life. Here’s why you shouldn’t, ei­ther.

1 No mat­ter how bad my prob­lems are, I could still look around and al­ways find some­one who en­vies me. I know this could sound hor­ri­bly cliched. It’s true, nonethe­less. Com­pare bad marks with hav­ing no op­por­tu­nity to study, or par­ents who fight, with hav­ing no par­ents… or not be­ing able to marry the girl of your choice with some­one who is bang­ing his head on the wall be­cause he did… (take it from me, all girl­friends turn into mon­ster wives!) If you are fur­ther deep in the pits, just think of some­one in an impoverished, far­away vil­lage who’ll hap­pily agree to be in your shoes, just to be able to have food. Sud­denly, your mother-in-law say­ing bitchy things about you doesn’t seem like a good enough to rea­son to die, does it?

2 No mat­ter how unwanted I may feel at times, some­one some­where will surely be at a loss if I die. Even if it is the 10-year-old at the traf­fic sig­nal, whose name I don’t know, but he knows that ev­ery day, he’s able to sell me packs of pen­cils I don’t even need by just smil­ing and say­ing “please”. Un­know­ingly, each one of us is a part of some­one else’s life. It’s an in­ter­con­nected chain… and, there­fore, it can’t be our ar­bi­trary de­ci­sion to willynilly snap a link. We are not al­lowed to be that self­ish.

3 And fi­nally, no mat­ter how strong my re­solve may be to end it all, what’s the rush? I don’t want to go with­out know­ing what God may have in store for my fu­ture. And these as­trologers are bad, they just don’t tell me how ex­actly my fu­ture will pan out. So, I won’t go, yet. Maybe by some stroke of magic, my mis­ery is any­way des­tined to end a month from now. Maybe I’m des­tined to be the next su­per­star (okay, fine. It was just an ex­am­ple, you don’t have to shake your head that vig­or­ously). How can we be in such a hurry to opt for the un­known with­out wait­ing a lit­tle bit more to see what un­folds here? And who knows, maybe life’s even harder up there, and you may find your­self in some re­mote cor­ner of hell with no food… or Face­book.

It’s ir­re­versible, silly, so put those sleep­ing pills aside. They any­way cause in­di­ges­tion. M, my friend, don’t think I’m mak­ing light of your sit­u­a­tion. I can only try to imag­ine what you are go­ing through. And I’m sure it’s very, very tough. But, my only point is that we’re all liv­ing through our re­spec­tive hells in life, and we’ve kinda got used to it. I’m not sure if it’ll be a good idea to try and trade it for yet an­other un­known hell. It may just be worse. Just wait it out, things have to get bet­ter. Sui­cide is not the last re­sort….it’s just not an op­tion… at all.

Sonal Kalra is set to give se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion to the Yo­gis and the Maul­vis. If only she un­der­stood that treat­ing de­pres­sion comes be­fore dispensing gyan. Mail your

calm­ness tricks to her at

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