Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two suicides and Heartbreak

Suicide! Those of you who have read today’s newspaper (Deccan Chronicle) would know that a PhD scholar committed suicide in HCU yesterday. He used to live in NRS hostel, the same hostel where I had spent almost a year during 2009 – 2010 session. I heard of the suicide yesterday itself at the HCU English Dept where I was attending a seminar. I felt bad for the young man as I tried imagining his difficult final moments. He had left a suicide note saying he was a heart broken man.The newspaper reports that one day before he committed suicide he changed his facebook status to single. Yesterday morning he died after consuming toxic acid.

Sometime in early December, 2011 my friend Amityedu rang me up in the morning. i was astonished to see his number vibrating that early on my mobile screen. he is if not anything else, never an early bird. he broke the sad news then: "Balaji, you knew him?" (Yes, he used to knock on my door often, a good friend, funny guy), "well I am afraid Rishi, your friend Balaji has committed suicide." I remember to have gone to the verandah of my house (for i was in Kolkata then)  staring at the passers-by for a while. I had no clue how to react to such an end. Almost a month later I met Mir, who told me that he had exactly felt the same way. Well he did not tell me but i guessed from what he said to me that he was equally, confoundedly shocked (Mir is a sensitive man). "Everything seemed to be right in his room. His shirts hanging from the hooks on the wall, his room neat and clean, his laptop in stand by mode. Just the man was no more."

"I did not want to see his body hanging from the ceiling," my friend Binayak told me later. "But still i went and saw him hanging. he had used a nylon string as noose and his body had come close to the ground as the noose had slackened. His body was oscillating sideways in breeze or because of imbalance in weight." 
 Vidyut, who lived opposite to Balaji, changed his room immediately. I met him few days ago. "Thank God you were not there when it happened," he told me. Vidyut does not want to live near that room anymore. 
My friend Sudip came to stay with me for a while when i was in Kolkata. he said Balaji had probably suffered a heartbreak and hence had decided to take his life.
I also noted a marked  sense of amnesia among my friends about Balaji. Most were unwilling to recall him or the incident of his suicide. This happens even in the case of impolite deaths. We cope with unnatural death in a very civil sort of way - by trying to forget it. i think it's a normal coping mechanism. The fire of what happened must burn within.

It's never easy to deal with heartbreaks - not in an advanced stage of loneliness. Several of us individualistic scholars are highly sensitive to feelings, emotions even though we do not show it. Heart break is common for us. I have seen several men (mostly) and women (some) suffering badly from  heart break.  To sympathize with the recent suicides I tried to walk in their shoes and i was reminded of a bad heart brake (intentionally misspelled) towards the end of my HCU days. Now i can laugh at it but at that moment it was difficult. The first thing that strikes you is a sense of emptiness, it's like an algebra solution where the constant X has gone wrong, the person you thought was a constant for you has suddenly disappeared and with that several of your pleasurable day dreams. 
then comes a cynical sense of anger, bitterness towards the opposite sex in general. You feel betrayed, victimized and taken advantage of. Then comes the worst of all - guilt. It consumes you so much that you become completely de-moralised.
I , dare say, have devised a treatment for heartbreaks. And it's a homeopathic one. I think catharsis is the best way. So instead of trying to cheer yourself up during heartbreaks (which is an allopathic treatment), indulge in grief as much as you want. The idea is to mourn your loss properly though proper rituals and these rituals may vary from man to man. We generally tend to follow the ritual of becoming introverted and lonely. We listen to philosophizing Bollywood songs and try to feel good. Instead follow a ritual of good eating. Try playing computer war games or best go to the zoo and stare at the animals. 
I think a good long walk is a good way to release your anguish, preferably if the walk is through a market where you can see several things together. For Hyderabadis the best market is near Charminar. Go there wallow in your emptiness for 24 hours and release your anger on some shopkeeper. I am sure you will feel much better at the end of the day.

As i write this blog two juniors have appeared at my door: Suman and Angan. Telepathically they are looking for H12: Balaji's room. They want to stay there. "Why?" I ask. we thought people were afraid of entering the room after the incident. "It's much better to deal with a ghost than bloody spiders." Spiders -  yes these boys are living in a room outside all hostels and have so far managed to exist in a cramped shelter. But with the rise in temperature spiders have started serenading their abode. They desperately need a room. 
After a while we have come to know that there are several students eyeing that room. I guess that's a healthy sign. 


  1. feel better than before, reading this was a good treatment.:)

  2. Rishi!
    I totally understand what you are saying, it is so true what you write about heart breaks, and for us research scholars it is worse since we are by nature a lonely lot!

  3. I like this post. And whenever, I open this blog I feel like reading this post in particular. Everything seems so overwhelming when one is in a heartbreak, that everything else seems empty, when in fact, it isn't.