Ma, lock the door of your room from inside every day when you sleep. Please, ma, don’t argue. Do it. I don’t want to hurt you, ma.
A summer morning, when ma woke up, she found a crowd in her small house. Looking at her, shuffling feet – who’ll break the news to her? The fan in her room was noisy but the silence defeating and deafening.
He was gone.
The love of her life, a vagabond, the rebel, the confused one. Gone. And before he took his life, he made sure that his friends were around to take care of his ma. Those buddies of his, unsuspecting of the events -a regular day of drinks and TV. An alcoholic, is how family described him, irresponsible in how he treated his ma. Sometimes feeding her with his own hands lovingly and sometimes, screaming choicest cuss words that neighbors could hear. Ma never complained. Must be the alcohol and his cursed friends, she always said .
I went to the room next to her, with his neatly ironed office shirts and trousers arranged in the open shelf, and wondered where I went wrong. And I wasn’t alone. The chair placed on his bed told us that we had failed him. If only we knew, if only we had read him right. That the incidents of violence were as painful for him as they were for ma and his sisters. How he must have cringed at the thoughts. Clasped his head in those young hands of his time and again. Perhaps sat on the edge of that bed multiple times, telling himself to throw those negative thoughts about his mom and sisters out. Sisters who had brought him up, covering up for their deceased father and diabetic, overweight ma- laughed, played and taught him. They left one by one, dutiful wives to loving husbands now. Happy to be away from his screaming. He was left alone, with his thoughts, dilemmas and thousand contradictions. This inexplicable chaos in his head had needed help. Help that no one could provide for. For no one, including him, understood and no one thought for him.
That night was special. He smiled. He ordered food and made his friends comfortable. He knew they had a long day ahead. He was ready to kill the beast inside the 28 year old body and he planned well. Everything was in place. Just as they were on his neat shelf.
Did I fail my science, my knowledge on mental illness, clinical depression and what-nots? What good was knowing these buzz-words and definitions if I couldn’t recognize its wrath on a loved one? Have I been so busy with my work that I forgot to interact enough with my family?
Talk. Reach out.
Like any other lesson, whether its by reading of someone else’s experience or learning from our own, we need to introspect.
contributed by the Blogging team
(We are talking of mental health issues, experiences and perspectives this week at the Geetanjali Hostel and all the articles with the hashtag are a part of that initiative)