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Not so young Fashion Graduate From National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, India. Aspiring journalist. Amongst other eclectic hobbies, she likes writing and has written several poems and articles over her school and college life and now for a living. She would someday like to be be a more popular writer than just on her blogs. 'Tis a lady of grand splendor, who waketh in my bed every morning while the sun beckons her towards night...

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Story of a Suicide, by Sriram Ayer: my thoughts

I am generally an upbeat person... Sometimes almost to the point of annoyance. I love talking. I love cracking jokes and I believe in people. But life is not all black and white. It’s not all that easy to stay upbeat all the time and I have struggled with clinical depression and multiple suicide attempts.

So it is not always comfortable to read something that echoes the feelings of the past. Sometimes present. But it is the truth. You cannot run away from it. Every time I hear of a suicide, whether it is on television or a work of friction – something moves deep inside. An immense weight pushes against my chest.

The Story Of A Suicide By Sriram Ayer is one such story that mirrors the hurt of so many youngsters today. In the day of social media where are lives are public without us realising it, the youth have much more to lay bare to the world.

A character very poignantly puts it “Morality is a moving target. What’s theirs needn’t be yours. As much as you have a point of view, they have one too. The drama between people on different points of the pendulum makes one compelling story.”

Image Courtesy: The Story Of A Suicide, Illustration by Ghana
But throughout the book, this thought is challenged. The anxiety and the transition of being an adult aren’t easy and the story easily portrays that through its numerous chapters. The voyeurism that technology easily offers the world makes it all the more worse. While all of us have to face betrayal at some point in our lives, there are some that are deep rooted.

Ayer attempts to touch various subjects of the childhood and growing up through his characters. Sexuality, harassment, morality, our attempts to be recognised and accepted in the society, passionate love and the cruelty of human nature – his novel has all rolled into one. Amongst all this is the sensitive subject of child abuse.

The narrative speaks of several issues through the eyes of multiple protagonists and the story moves from one visual to another seamlessly. The watercolour illustrations by Ghana are equally tantalizing and echo the mood of the story. The one that I felt most strongly for was the way he describes modern depression and how it takes root. The lack of understanding that people around have for this ‘deadly’ disease is affecting many and it would continue to do so unless we start addressing it properly.

There is such a severe lack of help and understanding when a person goes through this trauma that more often than not we end up blaming the victim. But it is hard to imagine that thought process... Ayer is adept that making you go through the pain through his characters. The issue is that it is not just the society that refuses to understand you. Amongst other betrayals – the lack of understanding from your parents probably ends up hurting you the most.

Image Courtesy: The Story Of A Suicide, Illustration by Ghana
Image Courtesy: The Story Of A Suicide, Illustration by Ghana

As studies have shown over 40% of children face abuse. Many of them are abused by their family members. Instead of turning a blind eye towards the child, we as adults need to listen.

And as the child approaches the confusing times of being young adults, our outlook has to change. We have to remember how difficult it was for us. As parents and as a society in general we need to set better examples for the young. The constant support is more than necessary. We need to check out for the signs of depression, of anguish – and these need to be addressed in the proper way. Families need to seek professional help. Read up for the sake of their loved ones. We can't be dismissive and say "get up and stay positive". For people who are giving up on life it is not easy to just "stay positive". We truly need the support of friends and family.

There need to be proper channels and support groups who talk about depression and provide counselling. Education systems need to adopt ways to deal with harassment and speak to distressed people. Homophobia is a society issue - we have to stop feeding hatred, we need to accept people as they are. There sexuality and preferences are secondary. First of all, we all are human beings who need to be treated with respect and dignity.

A story full of sensitive issues, this book needs to be read for the sake of the youth.
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