Following are translated excerpts from the diary of the late Chetan Kumar (1st-year student), which was found nestled in a pile of torn books in his room.
July 13th, 2011:
I’ve finally reached Manipal. Amazing campus and a reputed college. I can’t wait for classes to begin and to meet my new friends. My dad runs a small jute mill in the suburbs and my mother is a housewife. She is suffering from a chronic respiratory inflammation. We don’t have the money to pay for the surgery which will cost 6 lakhs. But the minute my dad heard I got a seat in a top college, he went over the roof. He mortgaged our mill, took my sisters out of school, cut the cable connection at home and fell on loan sharks’ feet to pay the fees. Before leaving, my mother removed the last remnant of jewelry on her mangalsutra and told me to use it if I ever needed money. They sacrificed everything and put their future at stake.
July 14th, 2011:
I’ve registered for my course. There was an 18 lakhs per annum placement package this year. I am going to work hard and get that top placement in three years. I will pacify the loan sharks, take my mother to Singapore for treatment, and marry my sisters off to engineers. Yes, I am the only hope.
July 18th, 2011:
Manipal isn’t going as great as I thought. I am from a Hindi medium school in a rural district and did all my exams in Hindi. I can’t follow any of the teachers here. What am I going to do?
August 4th, 2011:
I am from a conservative social background. I haven’t been able to make many friends. They all speak in such fluent English and discuss things I’ve never heard of. I am lonely here.
August 30th, 2011:
The first test starts tomorrow. I’ve gazed at the books for weeks now. But nothing seems like what I learned in school. It’s like I need to start from ABC all over again.
September 7th, 2011:
I got 0 in 4 subjects and 1/20 in two subjects. No, I am not giving up. I am going to approach the teachers.
November 8th, 2011:
The teachers have been understanding and supportive. They called me to their house and helped me a little. My 2nd test is from tomorrow. I think I can score better. I’ve put in a lot of effort. I don’t go partying like the rest.
November 11th, 2011:
Everyone here has a girlfriend. I want one too. There is a girl Ranita in my class. She is the goddess among the guys. I get butterflies in my stomach and ants in my pants when I see her and start smiling sheepishly like a monkey. Nothing has made me so happy before.
November 12th, 2011:
The more I restrain myself, the more it kills. I went to Udupi and pawned my mother’s marriage jewelry for a pair of gold-studded earrings. Only Ranita can make me happy. If I am happy, I can study.
November 13th, 2011:
I walked up to her today. I flashed my teeth and showed her the earrings. I blurted out “Hi you is coming to do a dating with me today?” (This was written in English in the diary). She stared at me with amusement. Her radiant eyes gleamed as she took my gift and said yes. She went to her friends and they giggled. I think she was blushing. Today is the happiest day of my life.
November 15th, 2011:
I went to the workshop to meet my mechanical teacher in the evening but it was closed. All of a sudden…I could make out Ranita’s face there concealed near the trees. There were strange noises. And there was another boy. Students called that spot ‘Make out point’. I ran trying to hold back the tears.
November 17th, 2011:
I’ve lost all interest in life. Every time I open my eyes, those sensual scenes cross my mind. How could she… I wish I could close my eyes forever. I can only sleep and cry all day…the world disgusts me.
November 18th, 2011:
Did little better in the second test. I am still not able to catch up with the rest. I got 5, 7, 2, 6, 9 and 6 in the tests. I called my Dad and told him about my improvement. He spat on me through the phone and said he’d disown me for bringing shame to the family. All my efforts to improve didn’t matter to him, he saw just the numbers. I could hear him thrashing my mother for giving birth to a worthless mule, she was crying. My father told me never to come back if I couldn’t get a 9-GPA and hung up.
November 20th, 2011:
“Life is like a movie, if you’ve sat through more than half of it and its sucked every second so far, it probably isn’t going to get great right at the end and make it all worthwhile. None should blame you for wanting to walk out early.”
November 21st, 2011:
I pawned my mother’s sanctity of marriage for that tramp Ranita. Tomorrow is Maths final exam. I haven’t opened any book for a week. I can’t take it anymore. I’m not even going to get a 0.9 GPA. My dad will thrash my mother to death if so. I’ve tried everything I could. Now, it’s time for a shortcut. I am tired of living but scared to death. But won’t a single shot of pain be easier than excruciating pain strangling me every single second of my existence?
At the stroke of midnight, Chetan’s body was found lying in a pool of blood in the 5th block compound. His father hanged himself of guilt upon hearing the news. Chetan’s mother lost her sanity out of grief. She went knocking on every door in the 5th block, smiling at the occupants and proudly asking “Kaise ho tum beta? Can you take me to Chetan who studies here?” The loan sharks back home ransacked his house and took his sister with them. An entire family crumbled in shambles.
This story is a memorial to all suicide victims and those contemplating it and I attempt to put myself in their shoes. Adverse circumstances force them to take drastic steps and we see at least 3 cases every year in Manipal itself, let alone other colleges. However, most don’t realize the impacts of their decision.
Academics are only one tiny part of life. Teenage love is a delusion of painful bliss and sensuality that often deceives. When parents scold you, they usually don’t mean what they say. They only say so to instigate you into mending your ways. None of these reasons, as in Chetan’s and most others’ cases, are valid enough to experiment with death.
Yes, most of us aren’t going to go to that extent nor do we plan on it. Suicide is always triggered by the impulse of the moment. However, if you are ever contemplating suicide, please think about your family first. Talk to someone, anyone for that matter. There is always a way out. Life isn’t a commodity to throw away.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and any reference to anyone or anything living or dead is purely coincidental and is regretted.