That Intentional Act

News and social media have been inundated the last couple of weeks with news about two celebrity suicides, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Not to forget Avicii, Verne Troyer, and Robin Williams. You may have been one of the many people who might have reflected with others or yourself about these unfortunate incidents. I did too! While my reflections with others were more about why the particular celebrities might have taken that drastic final step, my own thoughts were poignantly more internal. In the deaths of all above celebrities, depression was a major cause, all having suffered from serious depression for years. What then about seemingly healthy, ordinary people who commit that one intentional act that calls curtains to life itself?

My thoughts took me back to those times when I felt so low, that the unspeakable crossed my mind. Over conversations with some of my close friends, they shared about how they also have experienced those lows when they lose hope and feel like ending it all. As you Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 5.02.50 PMread this, maybe you also in your life have those moments when you felt THAT defeated. So what kept us alive? Me to write this and you to read this?

Talking from my own experiences I would say the first and foremost factor is:
1. Family and friends: The support system you have is a huge factor that keeps hopes alive. They are the first ones to shoot you down when you do something wrong but they are also first in line to pick you up after they are done butchering you. They stand by you like guardian angels and are first to read any signs of depression.
2. A soul twin: Everyone should have that one person that you share everything with. More would be fine too! This is the person who can judge your mood by the way you say ‘hello’ and will be the quickest to ask you ‘what’s wrong?’. I am lucky to have a few of those in my life and you should get one too if you don’t have any. They can be that difference between life and death in those crucial moments. I thank them from my heart, for being with me during some rough times.
3. Purge: Yes, something as simple as that can save your life. Getting rid of unwanted stuff in the house to people in your life is very important. If your house is cluttered and unorganized, you will reflect the same. An airy, open, clean, house transmits healthy thoughts and helps in your overall mental health. Similarly, if you have people in your life that cause you constant pain, its best to keep them at a distance. These are not necessarily bad people but maybe the association is not working and it’s time to purge.
4. Hobby: Remember those silly hobbies you had as a child? I went through the stamps, coins, matchbox (this one was fun because I was actually picking trash off the roads to the shock of my poor mother!) to a more sophisticated shot glasses today. Yes, they were and still are a silly hobby but it’s these infinitesimal acts that make one happy. Keep the child in you alive and look for something extraordinary in the prosaic world around you.
5. Passion: This one is more difficult and could actually be the savior and the cause leading up to that last act. It takes years to figure out what we are passionate about and many never do. Having something to look forward to every day, can make a difference in how we look at life. Likewise, many people feel depressed with the lack of a passion and are known to be the major cause of suicides in youth. What people need to understand here is that it’s okay not to cognize what your passion is; that clarity will come when you are ready. Until then, we can always rely on our hobbies. There are still many matchboxes left to be picked off the roads!

That intentional act carries no specifications and afflicts the rich, poor, famous, infamous, intellectuals and more. It is up to you to protect yourself from feeling so hopeless that it would seem like there was only one path left to travel. Surround yourself with people you love and love you back! Never let a stumble in your life be the end of your journey. And if you ever find you reached the end of the road, call someone or call me! I may not have solutions to your problems but I will be happy to listen 🙂



The Power Of Staying In Control


I woke up this morning to a chat with a friend in Chennai about the magnum opus ‘Baahubali – The conclusion’ that was recently released. He started by telling me how magnificent the movie was. He then proceeded to tell me that there was some technical difficulties and they did not play the second half of the movie. Needless to say, riots broke out in the theatre, the screen was torn, seats were ripped and theatre trashed! I was truly shocked and disturbed.

How can educated people in this age and time behave like this? More alarming was the fact that he tried to convince me what he did was right. Reason being that they had paid for the movie, and the theatre owners did not inform them of what was going on. My only argument was; if the movie could have been played, wouldn’t they have? There is no reason why anyone in their right mind would stop a movie midway to incur the wrath of the patrons. Obviously there were technical difficulties which they were unable to resolve and they were working on it. There was also a lack of communication protocol that has to be followed in such emergency situations. But nothing can condone trashing a theatre for an unexpected error. The producers still made their money and got away but the theatre owners who have paid huge amounts of money to bring this piece of entertainment to you has been made to incur a huge loss that he may never recover from. The other hundreds of people employed by the theatre will also go jobless until the theatre is fixed and up on its feet again. Was the release of the anger worth this much of financial loss? Was there no real solution to this?

Yesterday, at my school, following the usual protocol we had a fire drill. The alarm was pulled, classrooms were evacuated, students counted, and the teachers were asked to take the students back to the classrooms. But there was a glitch. Much to our annoyance we couldn’t turn off the fire alarm. It was was still blaring all over the school! We tried every trick possible, called a bunch of technical people, and everyone worked fervently to get it fixed. Meanwhile, I asked the secretary if the phones were ringing off the hook from teachers demanding to know what was going on, especially since we had many special education students for whom the blaring sound would have been a problem. She said: None! I was truly surprised. After about 15 -20 minutes of no success, I shot out an email to staff, telling them we were working on fixing it. Eventually we did fix it, but that’s not my point. Later on the union leader stopped by and we asked her if the staff got restless about the alarm situation and if she got any complaints. She said, “Not at all, we knew you would be working on it. Why on earth would you put us through that pain?” Yes, it’s obvious but it made me happy that they were so patient.

Going back to the Chennai incident, I was truly shocked that people took it to that level. This a state that is constantly screaming that it is ignored by the centre and as much as they try to intervene, it is the people that impede the progress of the state. It is time people take charge of matters into their own hands and turn things around. People need to realize how much power they have, especially the youth. There are many countries wherein the youth have taken charge and are turning things around. India now has a prime minister who is so supportive of positive change and is a huge inspiration that one person can make difference. A few months back, it was the youth who showed their unity at Marina beach and put up a united front and forced people to give attention to some issues. Sadly, the message was again lost and misused.  Tamil Nadu is a state that has produced the most brilliant minds of the century and if they put their minds together, I am sure they can revolutionize the state of affairs much beyond a technical error at a movie screening. Chennai is an example of just one incident but people do need to wake up in general and start taking more responsibility and be aware of the decisions they make.  Exercise that power of control; sometimes it can make a bigger statement than actually losing it!


A Rape Of My Sensibilities

She is not just India’s daughter, she is everybody’s daughter! She could be somebody’s sister, mother or friend. And more importantly, she has an identity of her own, an existence to which she has a right to live in any way she chooses to. This is not about one family’s cry for justice for their daughter, it is about those millions of families who have lost a girl to the brutality of men and those countless girls who never got to tell their story and relive the nightmare everyday of their life.

There has been much uproar about the BBC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’, many views, discussions, controversies and investigations. There is a deeper message to all this. It’s not about who made the documentary, it’s not about how she gained access to the convicts, it’s not about how much of the story was embellished and not even about the girl herself. This is about all those girls in the world who have been raped, this is about the muted society that watches in disbelief and does nothing, this is about the people who say they have the right to dictate terms about how women should run their lives and this is about all the people who try to move the focus from a burning issue to controversies around it. It was shocking to hear the convict say ‘Girls should be submissive so as to avoid getting killed’. More appalling was the statement by the lawyers who said ‘Girls should not be outdoors in the late evening hours or that he would set fire to his daughter if she was out with a male in front of his family’. Who are these people?? These men who are supposed to be the protectors of law, don’t believe in human rights, let alone women’s rights. How can we hope to be protected when the thinking of the lawmakers is so retarded? Who is the bigger culprit here? The society that breeds such people or the law that’s lacks in protecting its people.

The focus needs to be on the issue itself. Many girls are being raped in the world every single day. The top ten countries with a high rape crime rate are: Lesotho, Trinidad & Tobago, Sweden, Korea, New Zealand, United States, Belgium, Zimbabwe and United Kingdom. India features in the top 15 list.  This is the most under reported violent crime in the world. The stigma associated with it is another rape by itself of the individual. The laws that are supposed to protect people around the world are very flimsy. Some countries with low rape crime rates are Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Yemen, Indonesia and Armenia. This data is by no means conclusive because not every rape gets reported. There are many who stay hidden in the shadows of shame.

Change begins at home, change can be small. Parents need to have open conversations with their kids.Students in schools should be encouraged to speak up about physical violations. They need be taught to be comfortable reporting abuse as they would a robbery. There also has to be a call for change in-laws. These issues need to be dealt in fast track courts. There needs to be specialty lawyers who are educated/trained specifically in these issues. We need to look at other countries that are doing it right and look at what we can adopt from them. Society needs to step up and not be the passive bystander. If you see a crime happening, stop it, report it, and don’t run from it. We need to stop looking for a messiah to come save us, we need to stop pointing fingers, we need to step up and be the change we want to happen. Every person is crucial, no one is inconsequential, so stop waiting for someone to fix the issue. Every courageous deed is important and put together one day we will see a safer world for everyone.