Sunday, 14 August 2016

The story of a suicide - A book review

The word in itself gives grief. But, to the person committing it, it is done to end their grief.
The novel, the story of a suicide deals with everything that is related to it.
The novel is a contemporary novel highlighting on social issues that really needs to see the lights. It deals with four main characters, Charu, Sam, Mani and Hari.
Charu is a girl who fears no one and doesn't hesitate to voice her feelings. Sam is an arrogant youth and could also be called as a geek, with his knowledge and arrogance in equal amounts. Mani is from a poor family and he struggles with English language after reading Tamil in his school days. And finally Hari, who is afraid to express out his feelings.

Each character is like an antagonist of one of the other characters. The character portrayal is one of the highlights of the novel. The character is brought out to the real world, and u don't have to just imagine them in known faces. The portrayal creates faces for the characters, and you become a watchful 3rd person in the story.

About the story:

As mentioned earlier, the story is about a  suicide. Not only that. It deals with more pressing issues like homosexuality. Being a contemporary novel, the story revolves around 4 people in their second decade of life. This is the age where you start taking some decisions on your own, and most may not be the correct one.

Sam is portrayed as a spoiled adolescent. He has everything he want - knowledge, money and a girlfriend. But, he is more egocentric to even acknowledge the goodness in his girlfriend. He is shown to be offensive after a breakup, and that clearly shows his lack of acceptance of the world around him. As a young adult, at that young age, the world appears old and we feel experienced, until everyone starts behaving differently than we expected, and we feel helpless.

Charu is an enigma. Her character is different in every twist and turn. She is said to be someone who is studying at college, with the help of her school. But her character was never portrayed to be a girl who can't afford not to study. Also, her character was very flawed. She was roaring and getting subdued all at the same time. May be the author wanted the reader to see 'Charu' like that. Because the normal characters we see in our novels are mostly based in fantasy. If that was the aim of the author, i would like to say that it was indeed a great success!

About the third character in the book, Mani, he is shown as a hard-working person. His sincerity is seen by the way he tries to improve his English language by reading aloud from a newspaper. He is saved from committing suicide by Charu and Sam. And that is when Sam falls for Charu, even if it was just days from his break up with Priya his former girlfriend.

The story starts in such a way, with a suicide, and as it is aptly titled, 'The story of a  suicide', it indeed revolves around it.
Hari is shown as a young man, who is edgy always. He is trying to forget the sexual abuse he had suffered during his childhood, and also his sexual orientation which was not straight. Those two were a burden for the fragile Hari, until he met Mani, and life became happier once again for Hari.

Sam and Charu do not last long in their relationship, and Charu ends up blasting him in social media, and Sam plans a revenge motivated by his friend.
What happens next, and who was the person committing suicide at the end? That forms the story.

About the issues:

First, it talks about sexual abuse. A child who is sexually abused has a higher chance of going into depression. If an abuse has occurred, it is the responsibility of the parent or the guardian to ensure child safety. Most of the time, the child doesn't talk about it.

But, in the rarest of times, when the child seeks help, it is from parents, and parents should make sure that they are available for their kids. Spending some quality time is slowly becoming a matter of past nowadays, but every one must know the importance of time spent. If you are not available for your child once, when he or she needs it the most, the child will approach you less and less every time.
Even though, the times have changed, the child and parent relationship should be amicable and friendly.

The next was homosexuality. It is still a taboo in India, and is considered as a disorder of mind. It is high time people start accepting that homosexuals are also as normal as us. And they must not be confused with hermaphrodites.
In our country, people are broad minded when they read newspaper or to change to a  rainbow dp in Facebook. But, when it comes to their own kith or kin, they panic, and ask them to change or rather 'reform' themselves. Because nothing should be away from normal in their own home.

Most of them are afraid about what the society would say, and that matters the most for everyone in this huge country. Right from school to marriage, parents are concerned about the society. As a child seeing the society taking a huge place in his or her life, the child turns out the same as the parent. So the cycle goes on and on, and though there are many casualties, it hasn't stopped.

This was clearly portrayed. If your child comes out as an homosexual, accept the decision. Asking him or her to change the decision or rather making them feel guilty for a mistake which was not there at all, are all actions of a narrow mind. And the society needs to wake up from the long slumber. story also deals with cyber bullying. With the advent of social media and technologies, it has become commoner. And most of the victims are usually females and were targeted for reasons ranging from not saying yes to break up. Recently, many cases were reported in the news channels. And sadly, they come to the surface only after the suicide of the victim. It is all based on revenge. A girl doesn't want to go the way the man wishes, and the next day the man wants revenge.

Revenge by humiliation. What is the basis of this? The long lasting belief that females should always obey males? Or rather a poor upbringing or a poor role model by the parent. It could be anything.
Most of the decisions taken and the fears felt by the adolescents are actually the result of their limited experience in their first decade of life.

My final verdict about the book:

It was overall a different experience reading it. It touched most of the problems faced by adolescence. But some minor defects were there. After the character Mani commits suicide, he is not shown to be seeking help. And Charu even jokes about his suicide. A person who had attempted suicide will not be comfortable joking about it. And it would have been better if he had been seen getting a professional help.

The character of Charu. I felt that her character was doing things even without her knowledge. But, if it was meant to be, i have no complaints about it.

Charu faces being cyber bullied bravely, and it was a strong message. And about how Sam was a strong homophobic, it portrayed the society. Overall, i felt Sam was chiselled out of the various parts of the society.

Mani overcame his fear about learning a language, and the effort he puts in makes it laudable. It signifies the effect of increased effort.

The character Alex is a modern day professor, and you can see the likes of him rarely. He is an example of how the various parts of a society should be. Accepting and respecting others decision is important.

Hari's father pampering his son just to compensate for his earlier absence portrays modern day parents. Just pampering them with things doesn't matter. Pamper them with your time and words, but do not spoil them.

Totally, it was a book which should be read by a parent with an adolescent at home. It showed the inner minds and the psyche of them, rather than describing only blossoming romances as in a contemporary novel.

The effort put in must be applauded for it puts a mental strain to write about these.
And i really wish that the work reaches many and opens their eyes.

This book can be read here. Try reading it. And at the end of each page, there were links to pages relevant to that particular chapter. And this will really be useful if a person really doesn't know about what he is supposed to. Applauds to that! Also the artworks were commendable.

Overall rating : 8/10

My opinion on suicide:

Suicide is also something that is seen in an entirely different angle by the people. If a person commits suicide, you could hear people saying that the person was too sensitive and he could not even bear a small thing in his life.

No one sees the stupidity in it. Step on the shoes of a person committing it and think for a second.

Usually, when you are going to sleep, you do want to wake up the next day. But, to that person, it would be happier if he or she doesn't wake up next morning. Suicide comes into the head, when that person feels suffocated by his own life. The next day doesn't seem to bring any new possibilities. They feel they are helpless in their situation. And finally the guilt of being worthless for having come to that situation. It all comes to a maximum one day, and finally they see no point in living. So, suicide is not something you can laugh at. It is a serious matter, and the person needs help.

About overcoming it:

Most of the persons who commit suicide are in clinical depression, and they need Psychiatric help.

People should start seeing it differently rather than blaming the person for it. If a person is saved from suicide, he is reminded of it lifelong.

If a society should change, each and every one in it must change. Everyone must start developing a broad mind. If a person you know is not the same as before, talk to him or try cheering him up. If his state doesn't change even after a few weeks, he might be suffering from a psychiatric problem, and he must be seen by a Psychiatrist.

But, this doesn't happen, because going to a psychiatrist in itself is a taboo. People should understand that all psychiatric diseases are same as getting a bacterial or viral disease. No one blames you if you are suffering from chicken pox, but if you are in depression, it is entirely your fault.

The taboo surrounding it must be cleared. Though the trend has changed in major cities, it is still in the era of stone age in many places.
The only solution is 'spreading awareness'. If you are learning about it, feel free to share it in your family and neighborhood.

Even if someone is genuinely not feeling well for a few months, he is advised to relax a little and he should be back to normal again. The world has changed, and we are all in a stressed atmosphere. And so, the anxiety surrounding our success or failure is high. And there is nothing wrong in sharing it with others, and take help if required.

If you feel that there is no one to help you, you take the decisions for yourself. Go and seek help. And when the help is there, you are safe already.

There are many reasons for suicide. And if you are a parent with an adolescent child, talking and spending time helps so much. During adolescence, they have no idea whom to believe and whom not to believe. But they totally believe in you. So, before they lose the trust they have in you, make a connection with your children. And they will seek you first for their problems. And be sure to identify the problem and help them fight it. Be a pillar to your child.

Most adolescents have problems with their parents. It is because they feel that they have grown up, but parents still see them as a child. So, rather than being a wall in your child's life, be just a pillar.

Support him and help him with decisions rather than making decisions for him. It solves most of the problems. The child will develop confidence in himself. And if he or she commits a mistake, don't be in a hurry to make them feel guilty or start a story about how good you were in that same age. It will just make your child feel bad about himself, and will develop inferiority complex over a period. And in future it will create further problems.

Take a little time from your busy schedule, and spend time in appreciating your child. During adolescence, he needs guarantee that what he is doing is correct, and that you are okay with it. Spending time, giving freedom to your kid and not judging them will make all the difference in the world.

To ages other than adolescence, it is mostly due to work or family related ones. And the basic thing remains common. Seek help if you want it, and lend a helping hand for those who want it.
It is in our hands to make our place a happy one, and with happiness comes everything.

So, start spreading happiness, and start helping others!

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