CROSSROADS – II

The images of Riddhima’s life in Delhi were grim and as she was lying on the bed with her eyes wide open, all of them danced in front of her. Was that a life she was leading there? There was an utter silence prevailing in that house all the time, but there wasn’t any peace. There was no chaos in that house, but her heart and mind were restless always. There were no arguments or quarrels, but there were no conversations either. There were many beautiful people living in that house but there was no life in their togetherness. Everything at that house seemed beautiful but it was a house without a life. That house was nothing but a beautifully decorated tomb.

Riddhima felt like crying but there was nothing that she remembered for which she can actually cry. She wished if Avinash could have stayed with her little longer. He has always been her pillar being her childhood best friend. He has always stood beside her even if there were so many who could have stood beside her at those times when she needed them the most.

She saw her mobile screen flashing. There was a call. It was Avinash. “Hello, Avi! You reached?” She picked up as if she was so desperately wanting to hear from her childhood buddy.

I knew you must be awake even if it is past 12AM. Yeah, I just landed and walking towards the parking lot to catch my cab. And please sleep quickly and try to get a life, now.” He said as they talked for sometime before hanging up.

Huh, life!” She sighed as she remembered Avinash talking about crossroads when he was here a few hours ago. She got up from her bed and walked towards the kitchen to fetch a glass of water. She opened the fridge and took out the bottle. Pouring the water from it to a glass, she kept it back inside the fridge and started sipping the water while walking back towards the hall. She saw the torn pizza packet lying on the table and smirked. She could relate her life to that torn packet which had lost its value of being used again. She kept the glass on the tea table and picked up the packet and a few crumbs that had fallen here and there. He gathered them all and threw them in the dust bin kept in that room.

She then picked up the glass from the table and walked back to her room. She kept the glass, covering it with a coaster, and sat on her bed again, trying to sleep.

DO NOT HESITATE! YOU CAN PREVENT A SUICIDE!

I still regret that incident which literally shook me in the year 1994. I was a teenager then but I could have prevented someone from taking her own life. Sadly, I could not.

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on the 10th of September every year. This day is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. IASP is “dedicated to preventing suicide and suicidal behaviour, alleviating its effects, and providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors”. 

WSPD is an opportunity to raise awareness among all that suicide can be prevented. Even I felt, I could have prevented it by being a little vigilant and attentive to her and her feelings.

When the thought came, how we can prevent a possible suicide, I asked my friends to share their thoughts and they were quick to respond with their views.

Aditi says,

I will just keep talking and checking on that person and ensure that he/she doesn’t feel alone or left out.

Kalpana says,

If ever I feel a person is depressed, finding it difficult to cope up with the stress of facing challenges life is throwing at him or her, my initiative would be to make them realise!! Realise what? “Look around, we are not alone. We are in a situation which in our perspective is very difficult and life not worthy of living. But there are others who are struggling to have your piece at least to survive. And then there are others who rose from these dark waters. The first case is motivation to cling on to life and the second case is an inspiration to fight back. Do everything except to give up.”

Preeta says,

Regularly be in touch with my near and dear ones.
Being observantnotice change in the behavior of my friend, i.e., could be a weird message.
Not ignoring social media posts of anyone on my friend list, I mean, the posts expressing negative feelings of a person or friend.

Aastha says,

Suicide is a transient thought and often the extreme step could be avoided. No one is born with suicidal thoughts. Some failure or pain would have caused that thought. The only way “we” – friends, family, and society can help is through empathy and compassion. I would choose empathy over everything else.

And finally, Rajnandini gave her counselor’s view summarising all of our views…

1. Be vigilant for suicidal tendencies in people
2. Give a patient, non-judgmental hearing to anyone in distress
3. Encourage people to seek professional help and counseling when required
4. Impress upon people how precious a gift life is
5. Pray for those battling with life stressors

We must be aware of and must be seeing much news about the suicides during this pandemic. It has affected mental health big time. Staying isolated at home, less physical activities, unexpected changes in life and lack of proper connection between humans have made things worse. So, preventing suicide has become all the more important during this gloomy pandemic situation.

In the end, for our encouragement, I want to quote what God says,

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Stay Alert & Stay Blessed!

When I feel negative today at the age of 44, I should look back to my childhood and learn from the strategies that I had applied that time to stay happy at all conditions. 

 – Chiradeep

“The one who has peace among his own mind, body, and spirit; who enjoys unity among his whole-being can only be a peacemaker. He is a person whose body follows his mind which decides to execute what is right and just according to the yearning of his spirit.”

(Provided the yearning of one’s spirit is centered around God, the Almighty)

Our life is given to us to be lived in a certain way.
If it is not being led in the way it should have been
then we struggle along the way. 

Unlearn to learn further.

Unburden to carry other’s burdens.

Silly, don’t Unlove but Fill your tank

with God’s Love to pour it out on others

 

ARE YOU READY TO ROCK WITH YOUR SHOES ON?

I remember as a small boy when I hear my parents or elders announce a fun trip of my interest, I get ready within no time. And the usual comment I used to get from them was like, “Uhmm… Babu, Jota Ffotta Pindhiki ekdum ready (Aha! The boy is already dressed and ready with suit and boot). But I don’t used to get the same remark when I get ready for my school or was asked to visit a place that was not of my interest. They used to literally keep pushing me to make me get ready for the same. In fact, I used to hear shouts at my back, “Did you wear the shoe as yet or not?”

We always wear a shoe at the end after we get dressed fully before we start a journey leaving our comfort zone, our home. A shoe tied well around our feet implies that we are ready or prepared to set out.

So many times, in our life we must have been challenged to do something against our will or against our mental preparedness forcibly and eventually we fail to achieve or accomplish something that we were expected of. So, preparedness matters in everything we do, both mentally as well as physically.

In army fraternity, the discipline they follow from the day one, trains each one of them to stay prepared for an emergency situation inside or outside their country. That is why, when they are asked to leave their comfort zones, they do it at once, without hesitation, without asking any questions.

The Bible so appropriately says,

No one serving in the military gets mixed up in civilian matters, for his aim is to please his commanding officer.

That is called mental preparedness, stuffed with obedience and humility.

I am always reprimanded for my laid-back attitude. Being laid-back or sloppy is just the opposite preparedness. I know, I have suffered and struggled for being sloppy in my life, I truly regret it. But I am striving to stay read or prepared wearing my shoes around my feet well before the arrival of worst days.

Keeping aside the personal level of preparedness if I want to give an example of a larger scale then I would love to mention the preparedness of Odisha Govt. during different cyclones that the state faced in the past. I can proudly say, that the state of Odisha has always been prepared for any cyclone after it suffered a lot in the past.

There were reports, that before cyclone Phailin hit the coastal regions of Odisha, there was a record-breaking evacuation took place to safeguard human lives and the state Govt was highly praised for their preparedness. Even during cyclone Fani in 2019 the report says the same thing about the promptness of Odisha govt., unlike to the loss of human lives in 1999 super-cycle because of the unpreparedness.

This is just an example of state level preparedness but coming back to the individual level if we look around, we can find ample number of such examples that make us understand how preparedness can help us at difficult times.

In closing, I wonder, if I am prepared when I am needed to stand in the gap between a father and a son and be the agent of reconciliation! I wonder, if I am prepared to stoop down to the level of a poor and deprived and lift him up from down! I wonder, if I am ready to wear the shoes of someone else and understand the pain the other person is going through!

I wonder, if someone is still saying at my back, “Aha! The boy is already dressed and ready with his suit and boot”!

Stay Blessed!