Rising into a Fall

I sat here in the middle of nowhere, my feet jammed on the brake pedal, willing to let go off it any second to put my throbbing heart to rest. This cliff, which watches over 5000 feet of uncertainty can revaluate the certainty of the script of my fate and it wouldn’t hurt an inch of my being. I’d delve into the realm of dust and bask in the glory of nothingness and my so called free spirit shall really be set free. It often baffles me that we are led to blindly believe in the flair of every course of action being pre-destined while we fail to realize that it is in reality our choice which instructs the course of destiny. Destiny is merely a concept which unwinds the complexity of life for the very simplistic beings. However, the complexities cannot be negated by believing in something which is an open-ended aspect of controversy and have no reference to the context.

The reservoir of their time together flashed in front of her eyes like a kaleidoscope of memories and she knew that it was sufficient for her to take her final breaths with a smile – the cobblestone streets, their first kiss in the middle of the lush fields in Scotland, the scent of his musk overwhelming her senses, the adrenaline associated with his thoughts and emotions, the light reflected in his ocean blue eyes capable of illuminating the darkest of the imaginative fears and that crackling laughter to always take her breath away. Her eyes are tightly shut and jaws ferociously clenched with her arms pressed against the steering of her very first Porsche. It could not have been more perfect to let go of her only true belonging on her own terms surrounded by commodities which meant the most to her entirety. This car she sat in was the product of the proceedings left of her savings account she mounted while working as a bartender during her time at the university. The cliff was where Aaron, her high school sweetheart broke up with her, leading her to Frasier. Despite of all the heartache and trivialness attached with the unexpected breakup with Aaron, she knew it would have been impossible for her to call it quits if Aaron wouldn’t have been brave enough to address the concerns in their relationship, hence risking the existence of Frasier in her life. Frasier was her favourite memory of all, and the only risk ‘she ran by choosing her own terms and conditions was cracking his heart open. Perhaps, she was hopeful that he of all people would understand given he was the only person who understood her insides as if he co-existed within her.

I think Mother will be very unhappy with this choice in particular. My brain tells me that it may take Mother a lifetime to absolve my actions of sins she thinks only exist because of her faith in religious beliefs. It astounds me how she fails to understand that the Divine Force, commonly known as God if It even exists, and is the Provider for all of us then all It would wish for us is to choose happiness and therefore, my happiness is in letting go of the threads that deeply connect me with the circle of life. Father will be disappointed in me and I will no more be his champ. Finally, Uriel can seek the validation from Father that he believed was merely impossible because I stood as a rock-hard obstruction in his way. Father will appreciate for the very first time that Uriel didn’t turn out like me despite of him consistently breathing down Uriel’s neck to follow in my footsteps. I reckon all I will ever want to tell Father, if I ever could, is that I’d have a lifetime wasted if I choose to just suffocate my existence in the air which reeks of violence, hypocrisy and judgmental beliefs tainting the individuality, which is my human body over a vessel for something extremely sensitive and substantial: my soul. I believe it will pain my soul the most if Father even for a second will doubt his position of letting me be a free bird. If my decision to choose an eternity sooner than later will tarnish his belief that he should have listened to Mother and will admittedly give into her “I said so”, then every tear that moistens his cheek will be a stab tearing away at the base of my soul. These concerns have me second doubt my choices; if what I believe happens to dissect the core of not only the most important beings to me but also my soul even if it were to exist in its most natural state.

The most common of misconceptions to be construed with respect to her choice would be labelling her, some of which will stand out for self-explanatory reasons; the most pivotal one being selfish. A broken smile hatched at the curve of her mouth as she wondered if they really understood what it meant to be self-centred. Perhaps, they knew nothing about the philosophy of life, whose esse are in opposition to the biology of life; the latter of which they understand but the former of which their functional brains will find difficult to perceive. However, if she really believed in the surrender or abandonment as the ultimate salvation, she wouldn’t have waited all these years living on the edge given she was merely eight when it was past her head that the world will never be able to crack the intricacies of a human brain which for her was an utmost pleasure. It was her refuge from the brutality of humanity. She felt a stab of excitement and a pang of guilt concurrently.

“Follow your heart, Nora. It will lead you to your dreams. Trust your intuition, it facilitates self-discovery and inspires positive change. Be yourself; choose each day as an opportunity to better yourself and don’t forget to love yourself, love”, her father’s voice echoed in her head as tears rolled down her cheeks. The man did an exceptional job with her, preaching to her that being a misfit was as typical as the ways of a traditionalist. He was a protective father, like any other father, however he wouldn’t do injustice to the extraordinary his daughter brought to the world which filled him with sheer delight and pride. She pressed her propped arms against the steering wheel blaring the horns of the car to silence the doubts; she was struggling with the pendulum that swung at a pace faster than her heartbeat between her choice and their voices.

I have never seen Mother and Father have a similar opinion on a human before but Frasier was an exception. He won their hearts in their very first meeting with him. He was an absolute charmer. He helped Mother bake banana bread and blueberry muffins after lunch and set the table at the patio for the evening tea. He went to play golf with Father after the tea and returned swamped in advice on ways to improve his game. Father and Mother loved him so much in the matter of just an evening that Father had the hotel he was staying at cancel his stay with them and he ended up crashing in the guest room in our basement. What was there not to love about him?

When the home had snoozed that night, the night-owls they happened to be, they tip-toed their way into the patio to gaze at the starry sky. Frasier slipped his arm around her waist, gently pulling her closer and brushed the corner of her bottom lip with his thumb. He motioned for them to lay flat on their backs on the grass, his hand still clasping her waist ever so lightly. She inched closer and rested her head against his chest and the sound of his heartbeat felt like the wind chimes over the ripple of the ocean breeze calling her home. The silence in the air was golden. After a couple of minutes, he rolled over to lay on his belly slipping her head in the palm of his hand and the other arm snugged around her. He smiled his mischievous smile and the look in his eyes said it all. He moved closer and it felt like that the starlight had dimmed just for their moment. He pressed his lips against hers for not more than a few seconds when she managed to rid herself from his hold and dashed to the main entrance of the house. He chased after her and they crashed in the guestroom for the longest time, watching Netflix and sipping on the bottle of bubbly he got her parents just a day before. She brushed his knuckles while his fingers were laced with hers and he didn’t realize when he dozed off with his head perched on her shoulder. She pecked on his cheek, pulled the covers over him, tucked him in bed and sneaked out of the guest room, making the least amount of sound and motion. She laid in her bed wide awake staring at the blank canvas of her room ceiling, thinking to herself that what was it that she did to be fortunate enough to deserve someone like Frasier in her life, given humans usually weren’t her cup of tea. The thought of his chivalry put an insomniac to sleep that night and the very same thought shall today set the spirit of a wild caged soul free.

I don’t feel the need to leave a few words that perhaps will lurk in the lives of my people, serving as an excruciating reminder and the queer feelings that will be associated with it will only serve to defeat the purpose of slipping away as invisibly as possible in the realms of eternity. It will merely create a ripple effect of affliction, impacting the hearts I cherish the most to ache in grief of something symbolic of a celebratory cause. I believe my silence can speak volumes while my words may only serve to resurrect the essence of my being. This may commonly be misunderstood as selfish but I am rooting for the greater good here. However, sometimes, just sometimes silence is just as misinterpreted as words and I fear being misunderstood for making a bold choice yet again.

She wasn’t one of those who left their business half-done. She always has to have the last word.

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Author’s Note: With two very renowned names committing suicide this month, I felt it was very important for me to publish this piece of prose I have written a while ago. The background of this prose is a conversation I landed in with a bunch of peers  at a lunch a couple of months ago regarding what motivates suicide and how it is rightly ‘illegal’ on a social as well as religious account. It broke my heart that day to witness how ignorant we are even as an educated lot to not be able to acknowledge that each human mind paints and processes the taste of pain and this world uniquely and we cannot assemble any generalization when it comes to a human brain and heart. It failed me to know that they think that suicide is selfish and an attention seeking stunt; I was appalled by the audacity with which my peers so conveniently declared that suicide is usually an accident and a person never intends to take away their life but it is just a cry for help. It may be true in some cases but like I said before, we should refrain from making generalizations about such a serious issue and acknowledge that each human brain may have gone through ultimately a lot to even consider it to be a cry for help. 

It is my humble request to play your part in embracing and spreading this message that mental health is as important, if not more, as your physical health. I have worked with groups promoting mental health awareness and believe you me when I say that we all have heard and read sufficient life stories to gather something as simple as this: life is often unpredictable and pain seldom times unbearable. At the end of the day, we are only human. 

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Suicide is never an ANSWER!

“But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

I read the very same line few days back and I felt like a winner despite of all the failures that have miserably been destroying me within and I felt proud of myself – really very proud for being steadfast and dedicated to the goals of my life. The question that rises over here is that if failure really is a misery that can compel you to invite a death call and split the threads of your breath? Who is not a FAILURE in this life – failure is an understatement; we all are WARRIORS! We struggle to achieve and if there are huddles to accomplish on the way to our destination then they are the trademark for earning experience – the only human on the planet who have no experience (in terms of life) is a new-born baby and as soon as he breathes in this world, he is open to the wide valley of experiences. From feeding to playing, from smiling to crying, from sensing to loving, from crawling to walking; all is a new experience for him. When he is learning to walk or sit, he does fall short a million times and he does cry often but all these efforts are worth it when he finally succeeds to sit or walk without an external support – that one smile of joy is worth the plenty tears he had cried throughout the miserable process of learning and that pain is worth the skill he has learned over the course of time. Unfortunately, as a baby grow physically with utmost optimism and a firm belief in trying; his mental capability grows with the blend of influences from the social circle and other things that encompasses the society where he grows up. When this baby starts kindergarten, he cries because he fears the new atmosphere and isolation from his mother punches him in his gut. When the same boy grows up to join school, he fears to make new friends and the competition to cope up with studies. With the time, many ups and downs are welcomed by life. Some are bearable and some are beyond one’s endurance capability, hence in any way human survives because they possess the brains to reframe themselves after being completely destroyed and devastated. Some are real warriors and endure pain and suffering coming their way with the determination, steadfastness and a hope to see the bright day but some lose hope and make a heartbreaking decision of “SUCIDE” – it pierced and slashed my soul while typing this word but encountering and accepting the reality is primarily imperative in order to eliminate it.

Suicide is one crucial reality of this bitter-sweet world. I am well aware of how life can be intimidating and discouraging but is “SUICIDE” a moral decision? Of course NOT! The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds. This is what’s happening around us and I know that it would keep increasing as it has been reported by WHO that since the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged from 15 to 44 years (male and female). I have known a guy who tried to attempt suicide around three years back but his attempt failed . I met him the day before yesterday in a cocktail party and I observed a different guy talking to me. He sounded happy and ebullient and he was talking about how he would be marrying in the upcoming months. By looking at him, I wondered if he really remembered the night his mum was crying on my mum’s shoulder and I was peeking inside the operation theater where his body was being operated to work out with poison if possible. I thought back to myself silently if he remembered how long that night would have been for his mother who had turned into a widow just a month ago. I questioned myself whether he recalls his attempt and thank Almighty for giving him another chance to live the blessing he was bestowed upon with. The smile that illuminated his face and the reflection of bliss and pride in his character was evident that I can tell very easily what his answer would be if I ask him whether the decision he made three years back about ending his life was a sane decision or not. His answer would absolutely be “NO” when he had been a victim himself of the unending toil but his contentment today is a positive weapon to encounter everything with confidence and optimism.

The WHO states that mental health disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide. However, suicide results from many complex sociocultural factors and is more likely to occur during periods of socio-economic, family and individual crisis (e.g. loss of a loved one, unemployment, sexual orientation, difficulties with developing one’s identity, dissociation from one’s community or other social/belief group, and honor). The suicide rate astounded me when I read the WHO report further stating that 55% suicide attempts are made by adolescents to adults aged between 15 to 44 years and 45% suicide attempts are made by people aged 45 years and over. The crucially disheartening fact is that suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged between 15 to 24 years at which WHO states that “Youth Suicide is increasing at the greatest rate.”

Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide is an attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death – the only way they think they can attain peace. However despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish to find an alternative to committing suicide but they just can’t see one. If a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject but talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life. Hence, we have to aware ourselves to help people around us. One death in every 40 seconds is not a joke – we are a responsible “HUMAN” living on the planet (say NO to geographic divisions – we all are one and this world is our abode) Hence we can always endeavor on our part to stop this exercise and educate the people around us regarding “LIFE” who may in your opinion can later be the target of this lethal exercise. Therefore, I believe that we all have been through pain and suffering, our heart must have been attacked and invaded at times and our soul must have wished for an end once in a while but that doesn’t allow us to put a full-stop ourselves. Wait for the natural full-stop; at least that doesn’t announce you a “LOSER”. None of us desire an undignified end and even most of the suicidal people do not desire “DEATH” or “DARK-END”; instead they desire for the pain to stop. Make an aim to stay happy and make others happy. Reward the people around you with a smile and a compliment to make their day – your smile can be a healing therapy for a traumatized heart which can result in saving one life for every 40 seconds.

Cranky Old Man

Respect them for you will be here too one day!

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The oldman’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem. 

This old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the globe awaking masses to accept the reality that“nobody can run away from the dreadful old age however ravishing their young age may be”.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . . What do you see?
What are you thinking….? When you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man . . . not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. With faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food……. . And makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice. .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!