Good bye life! Who were you btw?

Well this one is not set on the same light-n-funny tone as my earlier post ‘What is life’ was. This one starts with a rather sad story of a fourth year IITian. Vijay committed suicide a week ago. He was found hanging in his hostel room, when after a day’s absence, his friends broke open the door. And there he was. Dead! Lifeless! Gone forever. [news link]

Why did he do this? The apparent reason highlighted in the media was that this fourth year EP student of IIT Bombay was short of attendance in some course(s) because of which he was not allowed to sit for the final exams. That meant he would have had to do one more year at the institute. He couldn’t face that, went into depression and finally committed suicide. Dead! Lifeless!

That was the ‘apparent’ reason. The real reason is this. He misjudged reality. And when something happened which he could not face (because he had not dreamt of that; because it was so unreal to him) he couldn’t take it anymore and he took his life. This I should state is the more general reason why people commit suicide.

Most of them who take their lives do it for the same reason. They are the people who never give a thought to ‘all’ that is possible with each passing second. When they step out of their hostel rooms to attend their classes, they only see the class, the short-term goal. They forget that there’s something called probability. And just ‘everything’ in this world has an above-zero probability (however small that may be). That basically means ‘anything’ can happen at anytime because the ‘everything’ includes every damn option. And that does mean that as soon as they step out of their hostel rooms, the probability of a big and sharp peace of metal flying towards them and hitting them on the face and making them blind forever exists. The metal hits they eyes; the eyes are gone. No, they are not dead. But suddenly they are blind. Their life has changed in a second. Is that really unreal? Only if they never thought something like this could ‘ever’ happen. Once you know ‘anything’ can happen, you know ‘anything’ will happen. Should the inability to see the world the way it functions, be a reason enough to end one’s life?

Reality is accepting the fact that you are never going to be the same person all the time. The change within you (or within anyone else) might happen within the blink of an eye, or it might be so slow that you won’t even notice it. The change could be for your good or on the extreme side, it could be the most disastrous thing to have happened with you. Do realize all the time, that you can hardly do anything to ensure either the magnitude or the rate of this bound-to-happen change. Realize the reality.

And then go ahead and ask yourself this: will you really want to live a life even when you are not the same person anymore? even when you have lost all the wealth you had? even when you have lost both of your limbs?

To answer any of these, and answer them ‘logically’, you will have to answer this first: why were you living a life at the first place? And that also means that if you cannot answer this, you cannot actually decide ‘logically’ whether you want to live your 'new' life after the ‘change’ or you just don’t want to.

When someone goes into depression, he cannot think logically. So he goes by instincts. Instincts might tell him that he would never like to live anymore. But that might not actually be the correct conclusion. When does logic work in pain? The pain is just too much to tolerate. And there he ends his life. Dead! Permanent end to all his pains. But wait a second. Wasn’t this step a permanent end to a ‘temporary problem’? Don’t you think that if the same person was made to come out of depression by some close friends and then asked to think about the whole issue ‘logically’, he might have had come with a different answer all by himself? Going by the logical way he would have first questioned himself about the real purpose of his life. After getting an answer (if he had been lucky enough), he would have moved to the next question: Could he really achieve what he wanted in life with the changes that had happened in his life? And then finally after getting an answer to this question he would have decided the action to be taken: to live further or to say life a cold good-bye. And then whatever he would have done would have been justified.

I ask you now to name me a single person who committed suicide without getting into depression. And when you fail to find any, you should realize that these people who took such actions failed to think logically. Their actions were based on their instinct which was affected in turn by the pain they felt because of the sudden change in their life. The pain was too much but then it had to recede. All they needed was time. All they needed was some support, some love, some affection and some more time. And then their decision would have had made any sense.

Talking about sense, does it really make any sense to blame the ‘system’? How is it that all others in the same system are still surviving? How valid a question is this: Did the system kill IIT-ian? I will leave the answer to the reader.

What I look for is a solution. Isn’t there any solution to prevent such tragedies? There indeed is. Before that I would like to mention few things. To begin with, one should not conclude that Vijay committed suicide because his Professors did not allow him to sit in the final exam (because of his own fault of course). We should also not conclude that he ended his life because he was upset about his choice between CS at IITG and EP(or whatever branch it was) at IITB (some of his friends did say this could be a reason!). All these explanations are superficial. He committed suicide and so do many others because he went into depression and he failed to think logically.

And now the solution. What is needed is nothing but the help of friends around such people to make them recover from apparent-tragedies, apparent-failures, apparent-misfortunes and any of these sucking feelings. All of us should be sensitive enough to others around us, listen to their problems and let no one take this irrecoverable path.

I grieve the death of a fellow IITian (and a senior to me) and sincerely wish something like this never happens again. But then the damn ‘probability’! Ok, I would rephrase my wish then: I sincerely wish that the probability of tragedies like this goes down and further down and down and…


  1. Anonymous said...
    Probability u r talkin about is ....Binomial or multinomial ??
    Anonymous said...
    Anyways...good work !
    What you think is a serious issue...not because of the blog but because ..
    "A micro moment converts life into death"
    and after that moment he is no more to realize that life is too broad. A few depressions are too unreasonable to commit suicide.
    amrit said...

    Yes I agree with you. A few depressions are indeed too unreasonable to commit suicide!

    (Why do people want to be anonymous when they are not even shouting abuses at me?)
    Anonymous said...
    It's true that anything can happen at anytime. There are no warnings in real life. But then again, what if suddenly one loses something which means the world to them.

    Suicide is a termed as cowardly act. And most of the time it is. But can someone else essentially judge the degree of depression/pain someone sustained or is sustaining due to these 'probable' events? Let's put ourselves in the other guys' shoes. Let's change our perspetive and think about it from the other person's point of view.

    Low attendance leading to a loss of an engineering year - A trivial issue to most, and I agree. But it was something so important to this guy that he gave his life for it!

    The end of the movie "Million Dollar Baby" proves my point. When one has nothing/noone to live for, why live.

    Events like this cannot be forseen. And yet it's a pity that people kill themselves everyday. It's complicated.
    Anonymous said...
    Did the system kill the IIT-ian?

    No. He killed himself. And that is sad.
    San said...
    A complete media circus is being made of a human being's death and I really feel bad about that. A person's death is not just another news scoop. I've had enough of people talking about greater good for greater number. Bah, Humbug.
    That said, I like your way of thinking albeit it sometimes clashes head on with mine. To each his own.
    amrit said...

    To me suicide is not really a coward act. But most of the time it sure isn't the most logical thing to do. People still do it because they do not see any other way to escape the pain that they are undergoing.

    No, I cannot step into their shoes and feel what they feel like, but I can always try my best to ask any such person (in caes I know any) to take it easy and take some more time to decide.

    The 'Million Dollar Baby' had a slightly different case, hadn't it? First of all what happened there was not suicide but euthanasia. And secondly, in the movie, the trainer (Eastwood) took 'enough time' to decide. His decision was more logical than emotional.

    I never say suicide or for that matter even euthanasia is not at all a solution. But it should at least be viewed as the last option, and a decision to end a life should be based on logical thinking.

    Ans yes, the whole thing is complicated for sure!

    @San (Helmet)

    Yes, the media sucks when it does things like these. A death is such a personal incident afterall.

    But may be they (the media) want to make people start thinking about what's going on in the places where they want their children to go and study. This could lead to some awareness. Some of the parents would actually be successful in giving the right kind of support to their children. Ans who knows this support could one day prevent one more suicide!

    And thanks a lot there for liking my way of thinking.
    Ritesh said...
    Good post, but somehow you have missed the point - about why did he come into such a state of depression at all - which is what others are trying to answer.
    Vikram Gill said...
    Euthanasia. Yes, I stand corrected.

    But the point I was trying to make was that assisted suicide also requires taking that decision. It doesn't matter how one arrives at such a decision. It doesn't matter whether its contemplated upon for weeks or it happens at the spur of the moment. Neither does logical thinking have anything to do with it. Because if you start thinking about self-murder as one of the options, you are not thinking logically at all.

    Like Amrit says, let's hope these kind of incidents lessen in extent.

    amrit said...

    Thank you for saying the post was good.

    "why did he come into such a state of depression at all", is not the point I wanted to discuss at all. An answer to this question might lead to something but that would certainly not be the root of the problem. The problem here is suicide. Do you think, people can ever be prevented from getting depressed at one point or another in their lives? But does that mean they cannot be prevented from killing themselves? Getting my point?

    So, the POINT is not 'what' causes that depression but this: Is suicide the right thing to do just because you get into depression and are not able to see any other option that ends your agony?


    Let's do hope incidents like this become minimal.

    Our views do not really match on this whole issue of suicide and euthanasia. I think, a personal decision should always be respected, if it is known that the decision has been taken not out of emotional stress but with the calm of a rational mind; so what if the decision is to commit suicide!

    The irony is that, this (the ratioanl and logical thinking) seldom happens when we look at suicide cases. None of them thought about their decisions with a calm mind before deciding to die. And this is what worries me. I am sure most of them would not have died if they had not succumbed to the temporary tsunami of pain that hit them. They needed people to share their feelings, and time to get rid of their pain.

    To conclude my views, it does matter 'how' you arrive at a decision. Any option that exists is an option. Merely closing your eyes and not looking at it doesn't delete it. All you are expected is to think about it with the correct state of mind. And then we will respect your decision.
    Nilambar said...
    theres more to it than meets the eye, is all i can say ... nobody gonna kill himself for just a W ...
    amrit said...
    It was a relief to find today that the HT removed the article titled 'Did the system kill IIT-ian?' today. So if that link didn't work, its OK.
    Ritesh said...
    I am not yet not getting your point.

    What you are talking about 'curing' the problem - once a person reaches such heights of depression, his friends should calm him down so that he doesn't commit suicide.

    What I am talking about is 'preventing' the problem - don't let people reach such state of depression that they want to kill themselves.

    We can learn from these suicide incidents and try to correct our system - which places such stress and such high expectations from the normal people - named IITians.
    amrit said...

    The two of us have different definitions of 'problem' here. For you the problem is 'reaching a state of depression'. For me it is 'suicide'. I would like to explain why I differ from you.

    Going by your definition, the argument can indeed be shifted to the IIT system which is supposed to be causing the problem; making people reach such a state of depression that can lead to suicide. You are absolutely correct in whatever you have said, but only as long as your definition of the 'problem' holds.

    Now, let's forget for a while about the ill effects of the IIT system. Let's assume that the stress has been reduced to a minima; the system has been changed.

    Do you really think that even now a student can always remain cheerful and happy and stress-free?

    At some point in our lives, don't all of us feel low? Feel depressed? If not IIT, then a girl friend; if not a girlfriend then a family issue; if not ...... the list is endless.

    To me, getting depressed is a part of life. There are crests and there are troughs. And that is why I do not view 'reaching the state of depression' as a problem.

    What I want is to convey is that if getting into depression is a part of life, getting out of it should also be the part of the same life. And that is indeed possible. Hope I made my point clearer this time.

    Thank you so much for discussing the issue. I appreciate your views.
    Anonymous said...
    Yeah sometimes ppl really at their wit's end when depressed, but is it justified to end life out of this very fact. u have accepted the depression, then be bold enough to accept the reality alos . If We can't change our way of living, it's welcome. why end our lives let the profs end theirs'...
    amrit said...

    'Let the Prof's end theirs' - LOL! I wish every damn student had this attitude...
    Anonymous said...
    Well his tragic death brings us to the point of whether the 'failing of some student for attendance even though he is a genius' is justified or not. Sadly though it is such incidents(even though they r hyped by the media) that bring us to debating such important issues. What say??
    amrit said...

    You are right when you say, his death was the reason, so many of us started discussing. But no, the discussion was never about how correct was it to fail a 'genius' just because he lacked attendance.

    The discussion was (and is) about the justification of 'suicide' as a reaction to anything. And when this is agreed upon as the issue for discussion, obviously one starts discussing it only when someone actually commits suicide out of depression.
    Anonymous said...
    Enjoyed a lot! » »
    Anonymous said...

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