Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Lessons We need to Combat Life

When other children ran ahead, he stumbled often and fell, but got up each time, determination brightening his face. “Why can’t I be like other children, Ma?” When the query banished the happiness from his mother’s beautiful face, he stopped asking. Instead he overcame his physical frailties by allowing his mind to encompass the world with one click of his computer.
As his body became frailer, his mind travelled across continents. Through Facebook, he created virtual albums, segregating spaces to family and friends, and browsing to build up his already prodigious knowledge. In his every action was the urge to experience life in all its hues, as if there were no tomorrow!
His doting parents took him everywhere in his wheelchair; his grandfather would discuss interesting topics with him, his father physically carried him around. His cousins spent time with him; each person wanted a little space inside his large heart.
At the age of 23, he invited a large gathering of family and friends to the 25th wedding anniversary of his parents. Joy shone out of his large expressive eyes as he watched, content that those invited had attended, for his sake and for that of his parents. He sang a classical song, and as congratulations poured over him, his parents watched in pride!
Maybe coming events do cast their shadows ahead! Was there any inkling that he would not be around for their next anniversary? For he fell ill, but held on stoically till their anniversary came around again! Ironically he passed away on that day, a staunch little fighter till the end!
His Facebook page still exists, for people who loved him to share their thoughts, being administered by his parents, strong enough to have let him go, taking solace in the fact that he had given them enough love and strength for an entire lifetime!
She was eighteen, born to an adoring family, living an idyllic childhood with no major conflicts! Life was one smooth sail, with no rocks in the horizon, no storms to shake her well- orchestrated world.
A bright and popular student, her fatal flaw, maybe, lay in her over-dependence on her parents. When she got into AFMC, she was ready to move to Pune and start a new life altogether. “I’ll go out in the evening and get sweets to celebrate!” she promised her elated old grandfather.
Lunch over, she went for a nap, while her excited family speculated proudly on her future. In the evening, her mother went upstairs, only to be greeted with the most agonizing sight ever. Her daughter had hanged herself! It was the very end of happiness as she had taken her life, for no apparent reason in sight!
The grandparents were shattered, the parents turned into statues, struggling with the enormity of the tragedy! The light had gone out of their lives, and they did not even know why!
When my mother, a well known educationist, sat in mute sympathy next to the 84 year old grandfather, he said to her brokenly, “Ma’am, I have a request! Stop teaching your students English and History and Mathematics.” He stopped, overwrought, and then continued, “Teach them to have strength of mind to face life and withstand obstacles; only that will sustain them in the end!”
My mother wept at the emotion on his gnarled face, at the effort he made not to break down, at the betrayal he was facing...
Two dearly loved children!
One who yearned to live, clutching on to every joy, a beacon of love and endurance, whose body gave up before his mind did!
The other, with everything to live for - love, family, career, whose mind gave up before her body did, as she took that final step, leaving her loved ones in darkness!

The New Indian Express - July 21st


  1. Deepti, Very very touching...I am totally moved and am at a loss for words.

    When we come across such incidents, we feel, " Why, oh, why should all this happen?" A sense of helplessness fills me within...

  2. Thanks, Jayashree... the sad part is that both are true incidents, which makes it all the more poignant! The reason why I wrote this piece is to highlight the feeling of loss and helplessness that parents go through when such things happen...
    Thanks again!


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