An irreparable loss

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Bidding final goodbye to someone is hard, harder when they are your near and dear ones. Sadly, our family is going through this hard time. My cousin’s son Amrit (name changed), recently committed suicide. Personally, I was not able to attend the funeral at Pashupati that day, but I could sense from the dimness in my dad’s eyes and gloominess in his voice how heartrending moment it was to watch him being set on fire. “I don’t understand why little kids commit suicide these days?” mom said with a bleak voice. “Next to his pyre, lay that of another school girl who had also committed suicide. I can’t imagine what pain her parents must have gone through” her voice grew even feebler.

 Being a medical student and living away from my home, I have little time for my relatives.  I don’t have many memories with Amrit as such. But I still remember how he greeted me “Namaste auntie” and I felt kind of awkward because he was way taller than me.  He studied in Class 10, the same grade as my own brother Pratik does. Every time I see Pratik, it reminds me of him. A feeling of coldness runs through my spine. It is still hard to believe that Amrit is no more with us. We are separated by distance that can never be reached.

As per the news, Amrit was humiliated and suspended from school when the teachers knew that he was in love with a girl. He could not stand this embarrassment nor did he have the guts to face his parents. So, he hanged himself to death. My first question is “Is love a punishable crime?” All these years, I thought love is a boon and hatred a bane. And suddenly, I come to know that someone is humiliated just because he is in love. Had he breached his code of conduct and did something wrong out of love, the punishment from school would have been justifiable. But punishing juvenile minds just because their tender hearts showered affection to someone, appears too irrational to me.

Time has changed and with it, has changed the way children are brought up. My dad had nearly a dozen siblings. They were brought up amidst poverty and so, they had to face a lot of hardship in their early lives. Mischief, at that time, would cost them one or more whips. But the good part is that it made them bold and brave. In today’s time, one generally has one or two children at the most. So, the child is all pampered. Even my parents never made me do any household works until I completed my SLC. That is why I cannot perform many of the chores even today. Parents don’t even speak loudly to their children these days let alone beating with a whip. Since we are so accustomed to being loved, our tender hearts cannot stand cruelty. And that is what makes us more vulnerable to extreme decisions like suicide. By saying this, I am not encouraging parents to be rude to their children. What I mean to say is that parents must explain their children about the possible highs and lows in life and the ways of overcoming them. They must prepare their children to become stronger individuals capable of facing all the challenges life puts before them.

The commonest reason why people plan a suicide is out of depression and frustration. When saddened hearts don’t find ears to share their agony and souls to lessen their grief, they prefer to die. Life has been so hectic these days, parents rarely find time for their children. With a nuclear family becoming the norm, kids have become lonelier and materialistic. I have seen families where children hardly see their parents once a week. I can understand they work hard to earn a better life for their children, but what better would it do if those children are no more? Just because your child seems calm and busy with their smartphones or laptops does not mean they are happy and are not lonely. You don’t need to invest too much time. It is necessary to at least keep track of what your child does the whole day, who s/he hangs out with and most importantly what s/he is going through. While parents are guardians, they should also try to be friends. They should be able to keep their children at an ease so that they would share even the darkest secrets with them. In that case, teenagers won’t opt for suicide out of fear of facing their parents.

As it is very contextual in this case, (two of the aforementioned suicide cases being from renowned schools of the town) I would like to relate to the role of schools as well. Some of the schools and colleges in the town are so strict that it seems that children need to take permission even to breathe. They are ruthlessly beaten and inhumanely humiliated for their mistake. I know, their sole aim is maintaining discipline. But discipline is not something you force upon others; it is something that should come from within. Children should be made disciplined not by keeping them in chains, but by inspiring them. Because when a chained animal is set free, it gets more brutal. And also, in an attempt to free itself of the chains, it may inflict harm or even kill oneself.

May your soul rest in peace, Amrit. We miss you!!

(Subedi is a third year MBBS student at KIST Medical College)

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