Random musings of a wandering soul

Other side of the story

boy“You know we love you, no matter what, right?”

“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”

“Really, amma”

“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… 


Comments on: "Other side of the story" (35)

  1. Yes, only thing we can do is keep talking. I completely understand this. And yes, we never know the real reason.

  2. The whole conversation is really scary Bindu. Hugs
    Keep talking- i will remember that .

  3. The recent case of Monce Joseph’s son.. can’t even imagine how to react to it, where they get such ideas from ..

  4. That is so scary, Bindu! You handled it quite well.

  5. From a ten year old??It is pretty scary…Am now doubting if the resilience, patience and acceptance level of people is becoming lesser every generation. To admit the truth, I do not possess as much courage as my Mom or MIL in facing failure especially those that life deals now and then to make us strong. Or may be we are over programmed to be successful!

  6. Kids are highly impressionable, so we never know what will cause what form of impression on them.

  7. sheethalsusan said:

    Coming from a lil one is quite scary… but loved the way you handled it!

  8. I can’t begin to imagine how scary this was. And you’re so right, each kid processes experiences and information so differently. Listen, talk and pray, indeed.

  9. So scary isn’t it? These days kids are growing up too fast. They are a lot more aware of the world than we were at their age. Communication is the key…and to listen well.
    I think you handled it very well from your end.

    • The sad part is Aswathy, they are just aware of things, when it comes to handling situations and emotions, its a different story altogether. Are we bringing them in too protected a manner, that the moment we are not there, they feel lost, I wonder

      • Are we bringing them in too protected a manner, that the moment we are not there, they feel lost, I wonder
        That’s a point isn’t it? Food for thought…

  10. I’m so glad that you had and continue to have open conversations with your children, Bindu! It is heartbreaking to contemplate that sometimes kids feel that there is no other option.
    Were you able to figure out what the teacher meant?

    • As he is growing up, I sometimes feel he has started to shy away from some conversations. It could be my feeling as a parent, but then, there is no end to a parent’s worries, I guess. The key is somehow to strike that balance without passing on the tension to them.
      As for what happened, they had an open discussion in the class about the farmer’s suicide that were rampant at that time. Guess some of them took it in a different perspective. I admire the teacher for taking the feedback and handling it well, for that topic didn’t come up much after that and now he seem to be rational about it while reading such news.

  11. It must have been so difficult keeping a calm face when you were being tormented from within. Glad to see that you have honest and open conversations with your child… so important for them grow up right….

  12. N the scariest part is in their child like curiosity they end up doing the worst..

  13. Kid’s mind is tender and he/she will react but its scary. A mother has not choice but to maintain calm even in the most difficult times and handle the situation with a cool head. Exposure to media has its ill-effects too.

  14. ((((Tight hugs)))) from one mommy to another !
    I can totally understand what you would’ve gone through…Oh dear !!! Its quite scary…
    Am glad he is out of that and keep up the talking as always…I know you will.

    • Thanks Uma. My worry is as we get into the tensions of our own daily life, whether we would lose focus as they grow up and start drifting towards their peers. Well, there are no guarantees in life, I guess. All we can is do what we can and leave the rest to God 🙂

  15. Scary…..! Hope your son’s friend is clear in his thoughts now.
    Counseling by good psychologist helps if there is any real root cause rather than casual thought which a teacher can handle.

  16. Most of the parents would have shouted and given a tight slap and that is exactly where the problem lies.
    You handled it well.

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