“Why do you keep repeating this?”
“Because people make mistakes and then sometimes they do not know what to do, specially kids.”
“So would you love me even if I do s-u?”
I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to say, “What is that?”
“You know, s-u-i-c-i-d-e”
Out of the mouth of a ten year old, with no warning whatsoever, I had no clue how to respond, at least for a few minutes. The first reaction was to over-react, somehow good sense prevailed.
My voice had a control which my heart did not as I heard it asking, “Now why would you want to do that?”
“I was just asking”
“I know you don’t just ask things like this”
“Ok, but then I hope you know that is the worst thing you can do to yourself”
“What if I have no hope left?”
“Then what is God for? He is there to show us the way isn’t it? There is nothing that He can’t do for us”
“Imagine you were a farmer and you had taken loans and then your crops failed and the bank took away all that you had. What would yo do?”
My breathing started getting normal, he must have read it in newspapers.
“That’s why you should be educated. No one can ever take away what is in your head even after all else might be lost”
The relief was short lived, though. A few nights later,
“Amma, A wants to do suicide”
A is son’s best friend.
“I don’t know. He says he wants to do it.”
“Didn’t you tell him that’s the worst thing anyone can ever do?”
“Yes I did. But he is not listening.”
Now how do I handle this? I know A’s mother quite well, but how do you tell a mother that her only son is thinking of the most unthinkable?
Thankfully, the class teacher was quite sensible and she had a thoughtful look on her face as I recounted the conversations.
“I think I know where it is coming from, don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,” was her only response. And I left it at that.
The conversation happened two years ago, son and A are still the best of friends. I do not even want to think about whether A was serious and if he was, how it would have affected my son, not to mention that angelic lady that A’s mother is. As he reads aloud news about kids committing suicide for the silliest of reasons with a ‘what the heck’ kind of look on his face, I keep going back to those nights when I was desperately trying to keep calm in front of him while my heart was beating the scariest of rhythms.
Having grown up in a large family of five kids, I know for a fact that the offspring of the same father and mother can be as different as a Kashmir apple and an itchy jack fruit. All the world’s psychologists and parenting books together cannot prepare them or us for all the eventualities that life may bring. The only thing that you can do is keep talking to them even when they stop listening to you and start thinking of you as an alien species from some long lost age. And pray.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. News of kids taking their own lives for seemingly the silliest of reasons have become routine now. What the real reason is, no one might know. The thought lingers, though…..if only they had talked to someone…if only someone had listened to them…