“ What ever desires are difficult to attain among mortals , ask them according to thy wish,-these fair maidens with their chariots and musical instruments- such are indeed not to be obtained by men. Choose sons and grandsons who shall live a hundred years, herds of cattle, elephants, gold, and horses. Choose the wide abode of the earth, and live thyself as many harvests as thou desirest. If you can think of any boon equal to that, choose wealth, and long life. Be (king), Nachiketas, on the wide earth'. I make thee the enjoyer of all desires. But ask not the mystery of death”.
“O Yama, God of Death! All those things that you have offered to grant me are subject to decay, if not today, by tomorrow at least. And all these things are directed at depriving and depreciating man of all his virility and strength of his limbs. Even if you grant me a longer life, that again is of no use (since I am going to die someday). At the end, all the vehicles, music, dance (all those offered by you to me) will again become yours (after death)”. Even the whole life is short. Keep thou thy horses, keep dance and song for thyself”.
There are times that are oft repeated in life, when one feels that life has been very unfair, cruel and inexplicable in churning out the good and the bad. Some are blessed with well being and for others it is litany of woes. And still for some life is a mixed bag. That is fair enough though, certainly!
J, was my class mate during the college years I spent in MarIvanios College Thrpuram, way back in 1977-80. Those were the times when jeans and trousers were not very common with girls. But J seldom wore different attire than a pair of trousers and shirt, or t-shirts. She was the macho among girls. More like a street fighter boy. She kept her hair pruned- I felt that was like Mrs Indira Gandhi. She was laid back in style and had a casual swagger in walk. She cared a damn for conventions and the cocoon girls were supposed to be during those pre MTV times. She was intelligent, full of banter and bold. I still remember her getting pissed off at me and decided not to talk to me. We were at logger heads, but I do not exactly recall the incident that upset her.
I met her yesterday at her house in the suburb of Thrpuram. It was a visit for a poignant occasion. I n fact it was a visit to offer condolences. She had lost her son, a boy of eighteen, to the malevolent fate, just four days ago. I remember seeing him with his family, a year ago in Chennai. I, C and Ara were in Chennai to attend the wedding of the daughter of a class mate of ours. I recall vividly her son eagerly clicking off photographs and he was also keen to take a photo with Ara.
J was devastated, deflated and in disarray. But she did not completely jettison her poise and strong countenance, though inwardly shattered. I sometimes during the course of my sitting by her side yesterday, feared and wondered if there were signs of her losing her balance, her mind, her poise. She did not shed tears, at least not while we were there. She only kept asking to herself, and to me generally, why the boy had to take his life? And, that too in a predetermined way that was immaculately envisioned ,made as violent as possible and as effective, as any plan can be implemented.
J told me that she could never recollect one instance when the boy was upset or angry. And she remembered painfully he was very helpful, caring and friendly, than any child of his age. I got the feeling from her reminiscing him, the uncommon and unusual affection and concern for the family was apparent in the boy. Which was not generally a child’s volition as we can recall from our childhood and also from those of the many children we know.
J’s ill-luck began a few years ago when she had a major stroke. And was in critical state for quite a while. It was out of, I guess sheer will and luck she came back to her professional job of the Bank Manger. Though she must be having a distant handicap after the major physical upheaval. Her convalescence and limp back to normalcy was shattered by a life threatening and almost crippling accident soon after, to her husband. And she had to tender him amidst her own physical distress. That, I guess took a year. Not long after the gentleman was back on his feet, fate put him down yet again. This time it was tipper truck that lost control and fell on his car, almost crushing him. And he was hospitalised with serious multiple fractures and in hopeless condition. However the family survived the ordeal and he is on his feet.
The moment some of us , J’s class mates heard the tragedy of her son, we wondered why this strain of ill luck was shadowing her!
We parents seem to believe and claim that we know our children inside out. We boast that they are fair and straight with us. No secret gardens and no behind door acts. And we, like J did, do not see anything untoward in the unusual love and care they shower on us. And like J, we will wonder why that little fellow did the unthinkable. To a lay person it is a mystery that defies logic or an explanation.
After sitting with her, the puzzle was slowly unravelling, to me though I kept to myself. The boy seemed to have carried a split personality, and the parents did not notice. Privately, he was in a kind of psychiatric turmoil. And his noting and computer also give ample instances to substantiate the theory. His death note that was found tells that he had to go. He tells that some distant force had sent him to this material world, to be here briefly to love and care for his parents and family. He had asked the “father”(the spirit) if he could stay till he gave his CA foundation examinations but his request was declined by the powers that sent him into the world. So the time was up now and the force that commands him asked him to be back amongst the friendly souls in the nether world. He just cannot stay here any longer and the material trappings are not for him. Kindred souls and friends wait him in the yonder world. The casual manner and the blithe with which the boy took his life were frightening, haunting and painful. He decided that he could not be here beyond Jan 30. And he ensured that his end was brutal and effective, (why brutal, only he could tell). So he could cast off the fetters of death. The modus operandi is graphic to recount.
The bottom line is parents have to be watchful of the young. We do not know the innermost thoughts, and can easily be hoodwinked. If only a tiny opening was noticed somewhere, the boy could have been saved from the abysmal depths he was plummeting into. The internet sites that purvey nonsense of necromancy, black magic, and conjuring the dead were directly influencing his fickle mind.
And the parents will wonder forever, why, why did he do so? What that will not register is that he was carrying a dual personality one for the consumption of his immediate family and the other dark and secret deep in him , and that only he knew.