“A seventeen year old, hangs himself to death…”, read the newspaper headline. Though it was early morning, all my sleep had vanished after reading the headline. I rubbed my eyes twice to further believe the authenticity of the photograph of the deceased. I gasped in disbelief!!
It was one of my ex-classmates who had ended his life. Okay, so I knew him to be a cheerful, fun-loving kid, who was punished in the class every now and then. He was one of those mischievous back benchers who prefer fun over studies. No, there’s nothing wrong in that, except when you manage to get promoted to the next class… Right? But this boy didn’t get promoted to the next class. He was slappy his father in front of the whole class for failing in the sixth grade.
While everyone else got busy with handling the pressures of the higher class, this boy was dealing with low self esteem. He didn’t come to the field during the interval. He denied the company of his “senior-friends”. Once, I found him sitting in some obscure place in the school. He ignored my calls and got up to leave. The year flew by and he got promoted this time. Slowly and gradually, the innocent smile returned. He started concentrating on his studies. The loner became cheerful once again. The back bencher became the front seater.
But then again, he committed a mistake. He felt in love with a girl, only to get disappointment. He scratched her name on his hand, and that became the object of ridicule. An adolescent coping up with teenage pressures and heartbreak, he failed again in the class. This time, neither could he face his friends, nor would the school tolerate his presence. So he joined another school, which admitted him on receiving a huge donation amount.
“I am sorry my friends. I am sorry big brother, I was not jealous of your grades. But, I’ve had enough. Enough of those ridicules. Dad called up every relative to tell them that I was useless and I had failed thrice. That he had two sons, and he wouldn’t care if only one existed. It was pathetic to see mom cry for an hour in the principal’s office, but he didn’t promote me. Mr. Bakshi had grudges against me and had told me that he wouldn’t let me pass, no matter what. I’m a failure and I don’t need to exist…”
~ read the suicide letter.
I threw away the newspaper in disgust. What was the need of scolding him and insulting him in front of the relatives. Were the relatives more dearer to you than your own son? Now can they fill the void that he has created. When he had failed once, rather than slapping his esteem, you were expected to explain him to accept defeat and convert it to victory. Sure, you loved him deep down. The dark circles beneath your eyes and your never-to-return smile tell that you did. So why didn’t you express it properly? Your male ego wouldn’t let you, or was the so called ‘generation gap’ cliche? While one son who topped the IITs, brought all the laurels and respect, the other only brought shame and disgust. So the topper should have all the right to get love and care and above all, the right to live? What if the other son would have become a successful photographer, or someone successful? How did you presume that he would remain a failure? The world knows of men who have fallen seven times, and got up eight times!!
And you, ‘Mr. I am a failure’, how could you presume that you’ll always fail? Not everyone in the world who succeeds, has been a topper. How can your grades define you? How come you became so weak that you couldn’t endure it? Dying made you successful? You could’ve taken it upon yourself to prove them wrong! How can you quit even before trying?
And, he ended his life, leaving behind memories, and beautifully captured photographs…💔💔