Yesterday, looking for a
pavement-seller of books, reportedly with books that are almost
impossible to find anywhere else, I found myself lost in a maze of
greeting cards instead. I realised that with my mind preoccupied
with dangerously depressing thoughts — given the present depressing
scenario — about how so many deliberate "mutes" were becoming
permanent, I had completely forgotten that the festive season was
almost round the corner. While scanning a heap of cards, something
held my attention. On a cheap yellowing card paper, looking
conspicuously out of place in a flurry of glossy, expensive looking
cards with their gushy, contrived messages of undying affection and
eternal hope, was a badly printed picture.
A very small,
forlorn looking boy gazed at the setting sun. A message, sprawled
across the bottom-half read — "No Dreamer is Too Small —
No Dream too Big". The dignified silence of the picture emitted
itself to me spontaneously, immediately silencing my chattering
mind, filling it with a thousand dreams of a peaceful world, while
people-filled planes become bombs, bombs rain in a wretched
neighbour, and people preferably talk "war", "revenge" than "peace"
and "justice". I remember telling a friend that I had written a book
called In Search of Peace.. and he asked me, "Whatever for? I
have personally decided that it is very didactical to try to force
your "peace" on people because maybe people "like" fighting. Has
this occurred to you?" It had not occurred to me, but in all
objectivity, there was more than a suspicious grain of truth in his
statement. In fact, maybe that was the truth thatI dodged all the
time. This revelation depressed me even more.
Towards Peace II: Do people
actually like to fight?
What about people
who were unable to cope with the present day world with its harsh
contemporary realities? Recently, I had been going through a lot of
disturbing reports on the increasing number of urban suicides. A
long report on the steady increase in the number of cases of
neuroses, psychoses and other minor and major mental disorders
afflicting the finer minds, dispassionately listing probable reasons
behind more and more resultant suicides being brilliant people,
(including doctors and scientists) who would have had much to
contribute to society if they had lived. A short, cryptic report on
the horrifying increase in the number of exceptionally bright
teenagers committing suicides on the thresholds of examinations or
Another one on the
justifiability of punishing, under the law, people who had
unsuccessfully tried to embrace death. And a row of other incidents
of suicide, recurring with morbid frequency..
To me, all these
suicides seemed like final unanswered knocks on lock-stubbed doors
of self-centred, noisy vicious circles, followed by a resigned
retreat into the doorway of permanent, monumental silence when the
cries for help fell on ears too deaf to hear any silent screams for
a better, more humane world.
Every time I hear
of such a suicide, I wonder if somebody — a friend, a relative, a
colleague or a teacher might not have been able to help more with
kind words and some reassurance, at least enough fuel of hope to
last till the psychiatrist’s door..
If only families
would take time out to just "sit together and talk", a mild reactive
depression just might be nipped in the bud and a life saved.
I have this,
perhaps irrational urge — as my good friend would have pointed out
again — to shake puritanical, but surprisingly, unconcerned
individuals out of their state of mental complacency that allows
them to put the blame squarely on the victim who could not "cope"
and chose the "coward’s way out" of the God-given life, and should
have been "punished" if he/she had not succeeded.. The question here
again is, whether God gave us "war and violence" as the natural
state of human habitat or "peace and non-violence"..
So many times, one
hears the escapist’s argument that all problems are "self-created"
and it is a "harsh-reality that nobody has the time or the
inclination to listen to another’s troubles.
Is all right with a
world where a silent suicide is ‘discussed’ volubly over caps of
coffee/tea, as are bombs on living people minding their own
businesses and not harming anyone, and this when the glaze from late
night T.V. watching or net-surfing has worn off? Who knows, the
present judgmental advice, disguised in kinder words at a more
opportune time just might have helped in reaching somebody whose
sensitivity did not gear him for either self-defense or attack
against the ruthless expectations of his/her brethren to conform to
the ruthless parameters set for him/her by a sharply competitive,
fight-loving as also rule-setting society. But what of a person who
has crossed the zone of rational communication? Someone you cannot
reach out to anymore. Someone who has reached a state where
circumstances and people have diminished to zero importance as the
cause of the depression.
Where an endogenous
depression has begun to seem like an organic disease of the mind
that weighs it down continuously to unfathomable depths. Yet, the
victim is not mad. He can think, too much. Suffer, too much. But
remain sane. Almost too much so. I think of the young doctor from
MAMC who set up the complicated unto-death I V drip and kept an
extra bottle of injectible muscle-relaxant, in the improbable case
of one bottle not sufficing, so final and sealed was the decision of
opting out of the world, and so clear the mind that he expected to
set up the second bottle himself.. I also think of "mad Sonu,"
discovered and rescued by a conscientious reporter of a national
daily.. What about his lost "power of coping"? I come back to the
greeting card on the cheap paper that had silently held my
Expect a miracle.
Have faith and hope. Because night is darkest just before dawn.. and
you or I do not hold the brush that colours the night and the day.
Just expect to wake up one miracle morning, an unreasonably happy
person. It will happen inevitably when you have reached the end of
your tether. When God and peace have begun to appear like bleak
dreams that only fools believe in. Dream of that morning. It will
A miracle literally
handed to you on a platter by a miracle-maker with a weird sense of
It could be the coming dawn.. the
sun rising to the tune of the twinkle of a smile hovering on the
lips of the pale face of a very small, forlorn- looking boy, who sat
through a cold night because he knew that the sun that god lost in
the waves of black inky darkness and smoke is the same one that will
rise again to herald a new dawn.. again...silently..