"Life is the price we pay for running away from death "
































































10:00 P.M.
He lived alone, yet he crawled ever so silently into the room, as if he was up to something wrong. He stood still for a moment, throwing empty glances on everything around. Then he walked into the bath and shut the door behind him.

10:15 P.M.
The bathroom door creaked open. His hand thrust out of the gap and threw the bottle of pills on to the bed. The door slam shut again.

10:50 P.M.
He came out sobbing, walked over to the desktop and switched it on. As it booted up, a photo of a smiling young man flashed on the screen. "Those were the days" he soulfully remarked, "when everything seemed so fine" and then his voice turned meeker, "and today it seems I am paying a fine for everything."

It was supposed to be the last night of his life, at least that's how he had planned it. He was fed up of being scared to wake up the next day to a new set of challenges, and wanted to end it all that night. The pills were ready but he had felt compelled to vent out in some manner. He couldn't confess to friends as they would interfere and spoil his plans. When in the bath, the idea had come to him. He would create an anonymous blog and dump all his thoughts, his life events, his attempts at succeeding, his eventual failures, his dilemma, everything that had brought him to this edge. The blog would be open to readers and they could comment whatever they like.. they would never be able to trace it back to him. He waited for the computer to boot up...

11:00 P.M.
Computer ready. Website opened. Anonymous Blog created.
He started dumping bits and pieces of his life onto it. He spilled the beans, he confessed all that he wanted to, explored the deepest recesses of his mind, mined the lost corners of his heart, scraped the dust and dung out of every nook and cranny of his being and splattered it all over the blog. Every few minutes, the blog would auto save and every hour, the contents would get auto-published.. out in the world for any eyes to pry on. The soul of a man laid bare on the internet.. yet without a face!

01:30 A.M.
The furious typing had stopped.. the blog was 12 posts big. The 13th post was the process of being typed and he had dozed off. He snored away on the keyboard itself.

07:30 A.M.
He woke up with a shriek. His head was dizzy. He was confused. He looked around and thumped his fist on the table. He was supposed to be in heaven by now.. He grabbed the pills from the bed and was about to run into the bath, when his eyes fell on the blog. The 13th post still lay unpublished, but out at the bottom of the 12th, there was a small bubble which said, "1 comment" Someone had read his blog overnight and left a comment for him.

He clicked on the bubble and the comment read, "Dear sir/madam, My life was doomed and I saw no way out. I came here looking for inspiration and just happened to stumble on your blog. And by God, what a lucky break it was for me. My life is not half as worse as yours has been. With every post of yours, I could see how things were still so much better off for me. It inspires me that if someone in your condition continues to live, then I have hell no right to give up on myself at all. It shows me a way. And the most beautiful thing is that your blog is left tantalizingly incomplete, like there is a lot more to come, and that gives me a great deal of hope, that you are out there, fighting it out somewhere, and will come back to complete the blog with your stories of heroism that will show me the courage to fight my own battles with. I shall wait for your next post, my dear savior angel! Thanks for saving my life!"
His hands were trembling. He slumped back on the chair and wept.

07:50 A.M.
He grabbed the pills and stormed into the bath. There was some muffled sobbing mixed with some loud swearing, and then the toilet was flushed.

In-no-time
Somewhere up in the heavens, an irritated voice boomed, "If its the Net that saves.. then what am I here for?"
There was once a king who fought and lost six successive battles. After the last loss, he ran away in shame and hid in a cave. Famished and desperate, he pondered on his next step, when his eyes fell on a spider crawling haplessly nearby. The spider looked stout, fat from the easy pickings of insect larvae on the floor, yet it struggled to build a web to the roof. He wondered what it sought in the roof after all, yet the king was more interested to see when the spider would give up.

But 'Give up' it didn't. Every time the spider slipped, it got up and tried again. Finally, after falling down six times, it braved a seventh and managed to get its gossamer up onto the roof. It completed the web and hung victoriously for a while. The king, inspired by this act, left the cave... fuming with confidence. 

The spider too, fuming with confidence, climbed up onto the roof of the cave, where a lurking owl quickly gobbled it up.
I would often come to the bridge, especially after they built the new one upstream, as this was now used only by the herders and their grazing bovines. Also, the stream was particularly rough underneath so I loved to sink the noises of my head into the gush of foaming water. The sun was descending over the horizon and within all perceivable reaches of my memory, this was the most pleasant moment to be. Yet! the fading light of the dusk looked merely like a projection of the light of reason fading within me.. 

I have contemplated suicide totally six times in my life, and out of that two times at this very bridge. Today was a record third time. The bridge finally overtook the sleeping pills.

A tribal saying goes, "At day break, we set out in the direction of the rising sun, we hunt whatever comes our way. When the sun is overhead, we sleep in the shade. When the light fades, we walk towards the setting sun, and it brings us home.." Will the setting sun take me home today? I feel like an outsider in this world, Its strange; I am its stranger.

"God is your friend that never lets you down" says my pastor. Quiet obviously, so! Whenever God needs friends, he just "pulls some people up, into his abode". But queerly in my case, he has always let me down. All my 5 previous attempts at killing myself have miserably failed. Or has God succeeded?

Nevertheless, here I am for the 6th attempt.. and the sunset is making me emotional. A flock of birds fly past, looks like they are chasing the clouds. Or are they driving away the clouds so more light falls on me? I look down at the water and try to see the fishes in it. The current is too rapid and fishes dart across like reflection of meteors in the water. Then I look at the grass on the banks, bending and dancing to the water flow. They look so eager to break away and float into the watery world, yet something is holding them back. They latch on the soil, which they share with the slimy moss.

Not to be distracted by these interpretations, I focus my sight back on the golden circle of light melting into  watery frontiers. In the shimmering beams, I see mirages of promises that made up my life. How I started off  with potential energies that never converted into the right kinetic energies. How I grew up so fast physically  that people were quick to place their burden of expectations on me, without noticing that mentally I was still lagging behind. I never dared to open up and speak out my mind. Where the hell was the time? All my childhood was spent fighting over video-games and all my youth, fighting with anxiety and indecision. My life  has been a story all thoughts and no action - a train of thoughts, with no engine! All my experiences total into a sum of hits and misses - Hits that I took due to failed dreams and the various Misses that came in and out of my life - Each 'Miss' that came for 'understanding' and left with 'misunderstanding'. I could not stand under anything that I believed in, for I didn't even understand what I believed in. I took for granted whatever came easily available, and played down whatever came with any figment of love in it. I always waged a war with time, not because it ran too fast or too slow but just because it rang the alarm and woke me up every morning, into a day that I knew I would not be proud at the end of. I kept my parents waiting, until they ran out of time. In the heat of my contemplative moments, I forgot to savor the warmth of their care. In the noises that clouded my mind, I failed to hear the heart beats of the people (and the Miss-es) that loved me. I kept trying to run out of cozy situations, until their patience ran out. I charted a life of my own, fought with dialectic creations of my own mind, fumbled with my heart, stumbled upon my own desires, walked relentlessly into the mist with a vague belief that I am going to get someplace worthy of me.. and where did that lead me.. to this bridge? to this sunset?

Dear Sun! Why are you not setting today? Its been so long since I stood here. Are you eagerly listening to me or enjoying making a mockery of me? Like how I have always pretended to be busy and closed my ears to the music of life.

Every person that loved me saw only a mask of mine, but never my real face. How could they? I haven't even grown a face yet. I don't yet have a clear identity for myself. If I kill myself now, what face will I even show to God?

Dear Sunnie! Though everyone blames you for rising and setting everyday, I know its not you that moves. You stay where you are. It we who turn, we look away from you and then darkness descends upon us. If I look at you with intent and not get distracted, then your light shall stay with me. Maybe that's why you didn't set today?

Like a poet once said,
"Love the stars fondly, and you will never be fearful of the night.
Watch the sunset, and you'll know the world's good.. and love's right"

Thanks Sunnie, for not dying on me this time!
All the books that he could lay his hands upon and all his 'google search', couldn't show him another story like his - nowhere else was there a son, who had wilfully led his mother astray; but he still didn't feel any bit ashamed for it. "Its all a part of life, and I am merely a catalyst" would be his usual excuse but he could not escape blaming himself too.

Nevertheless! there was blame, but no shame..

He had heard there were two dominant forces in anybody's life - one's own Will (as in Free Will) and the sum-total of all other Wills, which we call Nature. Furthermore, the choices made by Nature are called 'Destiny' and those made by one's own Will is called 'Life'. In the night of Reason, Destiny and Life huddle together and use the blanket of Faith to weather the cold of an unknown future. In his case, Life and Destiny fought all the time, and both seemed to win, at his cost!

Ever since his childhood, the only persistent memory was of his father's flaring tempers. When he had heard the description of hell for the first time in school, his dad's picture had flashed across his mind. Misunderstanding, blame-game, Suspicion, Bad-mouthing... anything that tears the fabric of a family, his father had 'been-there-done-that'. The man never indulged in physical abuse, yet most of the time he made physical-abuse look far more bearable! His mom always faced the music and he had always cried on her behalf; But dad would say 'Boys don't cry' and quickly strangle his tide. Over two decades, he saw a decadence of family values. He witnessed his dear 'mummy' go from just a 'distressed partner' to being a 'punching bag' for dad's frustrations. She lived like a maid in her own house. Dad almost treated her like some furniture in the kitchen. She had lost her smile. He saw her suffer in silence, yet how she put all her life and time in keeping the family going. He couldn't find the courage to face his dad but one day, he had mustered the strength to open up to his mother and asked her why she doesn't walk out of the marriage. "A known devil is better than an unknown angel," she had replied, "In our days, divorce was not the solution for a bad marriage. There are issues in all families, yet people live somehow. If I leave your dad, where will I go? Our society is an evil place for a lady without a husband. And whatever your dad does, I shall always be thankful to him for the one priceless gift he gave me... You!" Hearing that, he had fallen in love with his mom, all over again.

A month back, his music teacher visited their house. The teacher was an exponent in his art and a lifelong devotion to music had him given a magical persona. The musical icon had remained unmarried even at his ripe age. 'Mummy' had a lot of admiration for music, and he noticed how his mother had gelled so well with the music teacher. They seemed like childhood buddies lost in their nostalgic discussions. After a long time, he had noticed his mother smiling. From then on, he started making excuses to invite his teacher home and everytime he found his mother swaying to the discussions. A childishness had returned in her smile, It seemed like she had fallen in love all of a sudden; but when the dad returned home, gloom would descend again.

Then one day, he read in a magazine that a woman's heart survives on the food of love. The article said, "A woman can bear any pain in the world if it comes wrapped in love. Men thrive on love, Women survive on it. Love refines a man, but it defines a woman. A woman has many faces, she wears many masks, she will fight, cry, cringe, shout, but a warm hug at the end of the day puts her soul to rest. As is popularly misunderstood, Sex wasn't really made to satisfy the lust of a man, its actually made for a woman, as a charging station, where she renews her vows with love." This passage gave him tremors of a weird kind. Suddenly he saw light at the end of the tunnel - but feared it could be that of an on-coming train. It was still worth trying. Coincidentally, the next day was his parents' anniversary and he saw that as an omen. He had seen his mother enjoy her moments with the music teacher. His mother was sapped of her love all these years and he wanted to give her a way to 'charge' herself. His music teacher lived alone and this was the right setup for his 'plan'. He took his 'mummy' out on the pretext of going to the temple. He suggested they visit the teacher on the way and mom happily accepted. Once at the teacher's house, he waited until their discussion settled into a 'smiling' mode. At this point, he faked a call and escaped out of the house, giving the desiccated beings their privacy. He let the adults take their own comfortable course and just... hoped for the best!

While he waited around the corner, he got a call from his dad and he lied that they were at the temple. Dad had wanted to know the reason, and he was shocked that dad didn't even remember his own anniversary. Anyways, what use of an anniversary when the marriage didn't exist anymore? 

His hands were trembling, his eyes were moist - and he didn't know if it was for fear or joy. He had just done something unheard of, an experiment that a son would probably never do with his mom. If it wasn't for the circumstances, he would never have done something like that.

Nevertheless! there was blame, but no shame..
The old man had woken up early but he didn't get out his bed yet. He smelt the air and decided to pretend to be asleep. He had always suspected his wife and son to be up to something and they were in the kitchen now, talking in subdued tones again, so he closed his eyes, opened his ears strainingly wide and tried to listen..

"Son, you should not... old people are like small children... being close to death makes them insecure... try to understand your dad... he may be foolish... he is your dad"

The old man noted the words 'foolish' and 'close to death'. "So they think I am foolish and they are waiting for me to die," he nodded like he was about to crack a case. He bent forward to listen more clearly...

"But mom, he suspects every... finds excuses to shout at me.. opposes whatever I do... has he ever loved me at all?"
"Son... always good to have a devil's advocate.. gives you another perspective"

Sparks of anger started flying in the old man's heart. "So they think I am the devil". He continued to listen.

"Since childhood.. only rebuke.. he would compare me with other smart kids and never happy with what I achieved... forced me to be an engineer... my dreams were shattered..."
"I know son... wish he controlled his temper... no patience at all... I put up with him all my life and he still treats me like an outsider"
"I don't want to stay... run away from here... scolds me even if I try to open my mouth"
"No son, don't say that... your father after all.. try to send him for a meditation course.. lets discuss tonight... and settle it."

The son got up to leave. Old man continued his pretension, "So they want to settle it for good tonight. I always knew these wicked people were up to something." As the son walked out, the old man felt a slight nudge at his feet. "So this is why he touches my feet every morning, to check if I am awake or not. Sorry boy! I am smarter than you," an evil smile crept on his face, and a fire started blazing in his heart. Nobody could smell this fire though!

He sat up on his bed and reflected on his life. How he had slogged his way through life, caring for his wife and children and they had never cared to thank him for it. How he had dreamt of building a good status in society but his non-cooperating family had never helped him achieve it. They always seemed to have their own dreams in opposition to what he wanted for them. How his wife had completely stopped talking to him in the last few years. They had started treating him like an untouchable - every time he wanted to have a discussion his son would stand quietly, as if it was a shame to talk to his own father. They would make the old man shout at the top of his voice for everything. Maybe they wanted his blood pressure to rise so he would die soon. They were after his money, and he was sure of it now. There was no point living like this. He was frustrated of this demeaning existence. He had to settle it, and he would do it tonight...

The old man was completely at sea, and he didn't want to be a fish strung up on a bait. He would put an end to this all. In the evening when he stepped out for his walk, he went to the corner medical store and bought a bottle of rat poison.

5 days later

They had to break open the door after neighbors complained of rotting smell from the house. The father's body was found on his bed while the mother and son were found lying in the kitchen, their plates half eaten. As all three had died of the same poison, the police registered a case of family suicide.

The case was closed, yet the neighbors were left pondering why the son had registered his father for a meditation course on the same day of the suicide!