I often wonder when I hear about suicide cases if really no one close to that person could have sensed a break point about to happen. The point where a person cannot cope. A point when he can justify taking his own life and under even more horrifying circumstances also that of others. I hear of murder/suicide cases or read about it in newspapers every now and then and just think about this in passing and move on with every day routine. But when I read this, it just felt so close to home.
Just the name - an Indian name. A south Indian who speaks the same language. Somehow I always thought only complete whackos who grow up in strained families end up doing really horrible acts of violence. To think that someone who grew up in a regular Indian family and had a loving wife and otherwise normal life could do this?! It turned out that this guy was my sister's close friend's cousin. The said friend used to talk to him very often. And she had no idea something so violent was brewing in him. All for the sake of money? Or the perception that one needs a lot of money to even make it worth living?
I happened to read this post earlier today. At that time I didn't think too much about the exercise. But it seems like a good one for kids to go through. And adults too. To clear up the junk in our own heads as to what is really important in life and what is not. What is a need and what is a want. And what needs and wants merit worrying about either having it or not having it.
There is loss of life every second in this world. So in that sense, amongst many many horrible acts of violence you hear about, this is yet another one. But somehow talking about it with my sister who actually knows these people and has talked to the wife of this person many times brings this so close to home. And it makes me wonder how one can look at a person and just never really know what is going on in their head. On the surface this guy's life was going quite well. He was not even bankrupt at that time he decided to end his life. He had had a pretty good life, a wonderful wife and three perfectly healthy happy children. And yet he could not see clearly how privileged he was and could only focus on that point in his life and decided it was not worth continuing on. It is so sad and tragic that I almost wish we could go back in time and save him and his family.
Long ago, I had posted a story of a young newly married woman who committed suicide because she could not cope with the loss of her husband in the Sep 11 crash. Sad and tragic as it is, somehow I am personally even able to understand that. But I just don't get how Karthik Rajaram could do this to himself and to his family all because he lost some money. He was a brilliant person and could have gotten a job with time. And then I realize it has to be a cumulative effect - years of prioritizing winning over playing the game and doing the best. Years of chasing the next goal without pausing to smell the roses. It is not just him, it is the society we live in and the people we associate with too. It is hard to tell another successful Indian neighbor, that you, the success story you are perceived as, has lost a job. They will be sorry for you but you feel right at the end of that sentence, there is pity, the kind of pity you loathe. (I have known people who went through this a few years back. Some of them who took it in stride are now back on track and much more successful than those who did hold on to their jobs then). The kind of look that says,well, I am in a good position myself, but I do feel sorry for you. It is when I hear such stories that I feel disgusted by how we spend so much time inviting people to each other's houses for Navratri or Diwali and exchange gifts and such but how much do we really know people? How much do we really care for each other? Are we really there for each other? Beyond pithy statements and pats on the back. Just my random thoughts in my moment of sadness over this story. When I think of the little seven year old, my heart just bleeds. To have died such a violent death. I hope he killed the mother first so at least she did not have to endure the worst kind of suffering I can imagine - to see her children being killed by their own father.
It scares me to think that being brilliant or being an over achiever or having all the perceived notions of a successful life also doesn't mean that the person is a self assured person. And then I tell myself that I need to remind myself of this when I raise my children. When I feel the peer pressure to put them in more and more classes so they keep up with the next door kids. I need to raise the child as a whole and not a facet of the child that will bring him/her degrees and money. And this is not to say any of this is his parent's fault (from what I heard he lost his mother when he was a little child). It is yet another reminder of how grateful we ought to be for the many blessings we have thus far and a prayer that our children, who in their adult life are likely to bear the burden of a lot of the economic crisis we are in now, will have it in them to face life with grace and courage. Well, a prayer for myself too that I am able to face life's ups and downs with courage.