Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Story Of Life...

This post has been declared as one of the Winners, albeit Early Bird, in the IndiChange Contest hosted by The Story Of A Suicide and IndiBlogger.

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What is Life? 

It is contained between B and D. 
Between Birth and Death

But between B and D is a C. 
What is a C? 

It's a Choice

Our Life is a matter of Choices. 

 ~~~ 

Each of our lives is a reality to be experienced. It is also true that one's life is not a black box in its entirety. Fortunately or not, we inhabit a society are expected to abide by societal norms and take into consideration, that are deep seated into our mindsets, from the moment we acquire the capability to comprehend them. 

Also, we are one of the two sides of a scale, that is a relationship. We are not solitary beings, but have a multitude of inter-personal relationships to cater to, while subconsciously agreeing to embark on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Each one of us has a role to play in every other person's life, whomever we come across. 

However, the most important fact of our lives remains that each stage of life has a lesson for us to imbibe into ourselves and learn from as we herald one of them and bid farewell to another, throughout our lifetime. 

Charles Swindoll had said that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. I could not have agreed more, as each incident acts as a stimuli for us to react, guided by our heart and mind. More often than not, we are caught at a fork in the road. We are perplexed, confused by the plethora of reactions, sometimes an emotional outburst resulting as a consequence of a stressful situation. 

Often, we are able to navigate our way through the maze. Often, we are not. We end up losing track of how we wanted to tackle a particular situation versus what was meant to be done. The way out is introspection and advice. Advice from our parents, friends, our confidante, someone who is able to comprehend our dilemma and guide us out of it. Introspection towards the pros and cons of the way in way in which we react can often chalk out a way toward the workaround. 

Nothing happens until we are able to decide as to which way our life moves forward, though. It is also true, that bad decisions make for good stories. Stories that make way for good decisions, as good decisions come from experience, which in turn comes from bad decisions. :)

Ups and downs, highs and lows are all part and parcel of life, as a consequence of the decisions we make and abide by. However, no circumstance is worse enough for one to decide to commit suicide. However evident it may seem that suicide is the way out, it is not. For it is the one bad decision that would not make for a good story and certainly not pave any way for any decisions thereafter! 

Suicidal tendencies are silent killers, finally culminating into the terrifying act, that has repercussions towards one's family, friends, near and dear ones. It leaves them dumbfounded to discover such a harsh truth. After all, suicide appears to be the ultimate escape. However, escapism is easy, no doubt. But, it takes courage to beat adversity in the face! :)

 ~~~

The other day, I had come across The Story Of A Suicide, a novel penned by Sriram Ayer and illustrated by Ghana. The moment I sat down to give it a read, I was impressed by the fact that it brought to the fore, an unexplored dimension of what goes on inside the mind of a person who is led to believe that suicide is the ultimate answer to all questions.



 ~~~ 



How does the mindset work and why does it work in the manner it does? I was intrigued by such queries and I decided to go ahead. The name itself, was interesting enough to prompt me to take the plunge. 

Turns out, it is a narrative encompassing the lives of four individuals, youngsters, whose lives cross each other's path on the premise of love, passion, revenge and deceit. Focusing on the lives of Hari, Sam, Charu, and Mani (in that order). It is a depiction that mirrors real-life. The mannerisms of the youth of today's times have been depicted prolifically, with the extensive reference to gadgets, blogs, social media interactions, Twitter Mentions (using @)  and Twitter hashtags (using #). Quite commonplace, and relate-able in today's social media-savvy era. 

Social media is already touted as the harbinger of change, acting as a bearer of public opinion, and the novel depicts just that. Also, being adolescents, The Story Of A Suicide relates the changeover from school to college life to the dynamism and excitement of a teenager. From the hostel culture prevalent in premier institutes in the country to the typical aggregation of peer pressure to the involvement of youth in new relationships to the affinity towards newer (and often misguiding) passions and desires, the portrayal of these real-life scenarios provide a reminisce of college life for most of us. 

The novel also explores various personalities, mindsets, feelings, emotions, reactions, and incidents in the backdrop of realism across a span of thirty-one chapters. The fact that it begins with a Diary Entry addressing the World, and with the proclamation of the fact that the individual is going to die is itself gripping and leads the reader to explore Who it is and Why is he/she proclaiming so. 

Quoting Kirthi Jayakumar, who is the Campaign Manager for The Story Of A Suicide: 

"A young person decides to commit suicide. Who is this person? Why does he/she want to die? Where do they come from? Why are they upset, depressed and torn apart? And what drives them to it? Does he/she really die?"

 ~~~ 

"I am sad. I am tired. Helpless. Disillusioned. Paranoid. Unhappy. 
Sorry, it would not do justice if I just gave only one adjective to describe my hurt." 



The multitude of emotions in the above line depicts the demotivated, helpless and pained state of mind and heart. The narrative reached its superlative twice, for me.

First, with the letter that Hari writes to Sam, establishing the first connection between two individual characters. 'Our Secret' shows signs of seeing light.


Second, when the drama scales the height and 'Caesar Meets Draupadi'.



 ~~~ 

The fact that The Story Of A Suicide is "the first ever book presented online, the first ever book that you get to read for free, without even having to pirate a copy, the first ever book that you’ll leave bookmarks all over without do-gearing or marking blue flags on" is welcoming. 

The 'How Do I?' pointers that accompany each chapter are reflective, introspective, and serve as a counsel. The questions highlighted would make some of the disillusioned youth, reading the novel, that they too, were seeking answers to some such troubling queries. 

The Story Of A Suicide highlights the fact that today's generation is expressive, independent, fearless, dynamic, but at the same time, spirited. Bound by a world that presents them with unexpected challenges, and pressing expectations, today's youngsters form for a disillusioned lot. Figuring out their purpose in life, today's youth is constantly faced by a predicament. The difference of opinion with their elders also conflicts their personal opinions, at times.


Clouded by concerns the multiple facets that make them the individuals they are, be it about their education, relationships, jobs, sexuality, bullying, or abuse, they are audacious enough to say it in the face of adversity - Try Me! - instead of - Why Me? - thus coming to terms with the vulnerability that deters them from achieving their dreams, and keeping it at bay. They are thus, at a constant war, with their own selves!



The novel would aid such youth to come to terms with themselves and resolve to carve an identity for themselves with positivism that makes an effort to oppose the negativity that the world around us is brimming with.

Also, the Audio Book hosted on SoundCloud that is poignantly conveyed across, with the right tone and expressions (narrative alongside each chapter by Uday Danda) is what makes one feel that the screenplay comes alive from across the room! :)

I had listened to the novel rather than reading it, and believe me, it was not your computerized text-to-speech but it was as if the novelist was speaking out the contents of his literary marvel that touches upon a critical subject.



With a team of twelve individuals who have given shape to the novel and brought it out for the world, The Story Of A Suicide makes for a promising read, complemented by fitting visuals, metaphors, tone, and imagery, along with a diction that establishes a firm connect with the dialect of today's youth

On the other hand, realization of the importance of 'I' in one's life is essential. As it is 'I' who assumes responsibility for my actions, decisions, emotional outbursts, and it is 'I' who has to bear the consequences of the same. 

It is 'I' who has to care for myself, none else is going to come and do that for me. After all, 'I' live in a big, bad, selfish world. To each one their own, because this is a society that 'I' aspire to survive in, not a factory churning out robots as per a predefined mold! 

'I' must however, also keep in mind, that as rosy as the picture may seem after one takes a spur-of-moment decision, it doesn't take long enough for it to take the shape of regret in the long term.

 ~~~ 

Your skin is not a paper, don't cut it, 
Your face isn't a mask, don't hide it, 
Your size isn't a book, don't judge it, 
Your life is not a film, don't END it. 

 ~~~ 

P.S.: Images attributed to The Story Of A Suicide. This post is written for an IndiChange campaign, hosted by IndiBlogger and NalandaWay Foundation. 

6 comments:

  1. You have managed to bring out pertinent points in relation to the book and the themes it touches....Good luck for the contest....:)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and appreciating, Sunaina.
      Best wishes to you too. :)

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  2. Very nicely written. Am sure, this post would get another prize for you apart from early bird...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the appreciation, Bindu. :)

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  3. Dear Poonam, It was a pleasure stopping by your beautiful blog and a real lovely and meaningful post :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the well-worded compliment, Roma. :)

    ReplyDelete

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