Harsh Kalia’s untimely demise left me sad. I cannot claim to be close to him. I just met him once and I have a very hazy memory of that meeting. All I remember is that he was a good looking young man with a winning smile and charming manners.
Each semester Manipal loses at least two three students of suicide. Every time someone dies, a part of us dies. A beautiful bud is nipped even before it blossoms.
It first happened during the final year of the college. The second time when a police officer foolishly handled a loaded revolver for me to admire.
He had come to protect me from the angry workers in the factory. While he proudly explained the mechanism of the revolver, I was thinking of killing myself. Death was just a click away. The third time it happened in Miami.
But each time I survived by a hair’s breadth. The images of parents and family members flashed. My over active imagination created scary scenes of grieving parents, doting brother and sister and loving nephew and niece. The hands faltered and the moment of madness passed. Suicide didn’t seem like an attractive option any more.
Along with the moment of madness, the failures too passed. Success tasted that much sweeter. I realised that to enjoy the halo of success, one has to travel the dark tunnels of failures first. One who has never suffered the ignominy of failure will never fully enjoy the exhilarating feeling of success.
So, did I never feel depressed ever after? Far from it, life kept throwing lemons. I had to see the tragedy of losing both the parents, I struggled with alcohol and bouts of insomnia. Business failed and friends deserted. I felt lonely and abandoned. There didn’t seem any future. I suffer terrible mood swings which can sometimes leave me terribly depressed and sometimes create a false illusion of happiness. I had to dig for the strength within.
It was then that I re-discovered my passion for writing. It gave me a feeling of liberation. In that euphoria, I wrote ‘ Pizza Porn’. It is a light hearted and frothy novel. I wanted to bring a smile on the faces of people. Whether I succeed or fail is not important.
There was another upside too. I can now cherish the look of contentment on father’s face as he died peacefully or mom’s serene face as she slept peacefully never to wake up again. Their family had stood by them. Each time when I sleep without a pill or stay dry for a period, I celebrate it like a minor victory. There is also that satisfying feeling that if you haven’t been responsible to bring any happiness in someone’s life, at least you haven’t been responsible for bringing grief to the loved ones.
Life is meant to be lived caring and loving. And when you love someone, you give undiluted and unconditional love without expecting anything in return. To take one’s life would be selfish.
A failure doesn’t mean the end of the world. When one door closes, a few more open. Life offers many opportunities. We do not know when, where and how. The trick is to wait for that moment and grab it with both the hands. Sometimes, that opportunity may slip. We have to keep trying and create another one. Keep knocking. Bad luck would tire one day and leave shame facedly in the darkness of the night.
Harsh is no more. No more are the other countless misguided souls before him. They cannot be brought back no matter what we try. But their death teaches us the value of life. It is a lesson, sadly learnt with a huge price tag.
Let us learn that lesson and remove the word ‘Suicide’ from our lexicon. That would only be the fitting tribute to the memory of Harsh and the others before him.
Anyone with issues please do not hesitate to share. We shall fight it together. Write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org or meet me when I in Manipal from March 7th -10th. I promise there will be no sermons. Just compassion and understanding from someone who has gone through that turmoil.