The only thing ‘wrong’ with him was that his six pack wasn’t precisely aligned. When he took off his shirt, it looked like someone had sliced his stomach neatly down the middle vertically and then joined it carelessly so that the cut of muscle on the right was just a little above the left. Is that reason for someone to take their life? Or maybe it was the heartbreak. Except being dumped seems about as coherent a reason for someone to kill themselves as un-aligned abs.
She had her teeth “done” so that her smile didn’t look “out of whack”. Sometimes, her gums bled and she would be mortified by blood staining her teeth. She hated that she couldn’t feel when the red leaked out of her gums and stained her teeth. So with some of her friends, she’d invented a discreet little gesture that we were expected to do if we noticed her smile was taking on a vampirish edge.
Two beautiful people who didn’t know each other committed suicide a few hours ago. They had nothing in common yesterday. Today they have one insignificant thing — me — and one critical detail — cause of death: suicide — connecting them. All of us, the living, we’re left remembering the times we thought we wanted to die. We’re trying to remember what stopped us, what kept us alive; and we’re wondering why something stopped us but didn’t stop him or her. We’re reading the letters they left behind and wondering how all these pages in which they’ve told us about the ones they’ve loved didn’t serve as reminders that would pull them back from the terrible brink at which they were hovering. We’re mourning them and judging them for having given up because that’s all the punishment we can think of for ourselves. We thought they were ok. That they needed a little more time. That they were being dramatic. We complacently thought that the human body is built and programmed to survive, not die. Not when you’re so young and you’ve got abs and the perfect smile.
Meanwhile, at 2am, there’s a delighted, noisy procession made up of a drums, trumpets, synthesisers and god knows what else playing loudly as a massive idol of Ganesha is brought into its fairy-lit lair for Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesha who is also known as Siddhipriya, or the one who bestows wishes and boons, and Mrityunjaya, the one who conquered death.
The music has stopped. Ganesha’s home. I’m praying that the ancient Hindu sages were wrong when they said the souls of those who commit suicide hover between worlds, wandering with painful directionlessness as they work out how to pay off their karmic debts.
Now there’s silence and I find myself desperately hoping that there is peace and rest for the restless, both dead and alive.