The Loser's Game

On World Suicide Prevention Day, Manu Remakant remembers his brother, and tells us committing suicide is a loser’s game.

There were signs all over the place. On the rose plant that you did not water for the whole week, on the crumbled papers in the wastebasket in your room, on the hug you gave to your ten-year-old brother who just gaped in wonder suspecting another ruse to cheat him in some game, on the long watery gazes you had on the empty walls across our home, on the sudden magnanimity of gifting your prized possessions to your friend…

Only that, we lazy players who didn’t know the emerging pattern, picked the broken shards of a heart and wondered what. We didn’t read death in your smiles.

“So, that’s it,” you signed off.

“It is very difficult to understand such genuine alarm calls from the false ones,” says Mary Hazel Thomas, the co-ordinator of Thrani Centre for Crisis Control, a non-profit organisation in Trivandrum.

“Yes… the ones who are on the verge will open up to somebody,” she says.

The morning was like any other morning on that day, and it didn’t speak anything about its evening which would rob us off a chunk of our heart.

But as they say, it was destined.

You wrote that three of you, friends, have decided to commit suicide. Well, if you are listening brother, they didn’t. They pulled themselves out of the pact at the last moment. And waited.

One is now working in the UK, settled with his family, and the other I met couple of years ago. I saw two cherubic children running about him. He has a beautiful wife and a good job. It was difficult for me to help him remember you, his compatriot in a tryst you all made on a cloudy evening 26 winters ago.

You were all rebelling against a teacher who gave you the wrong end of justice. You thought death would speak for you. You expected that your friends would burst out in rebellion seeing your body. Nothing happened, dear. They came here, cried their bit and went back to their homes. One thing, I forgot… they declared it a holiday.

Memories fade. When the teacher moved into the next chapter, your classmates had to brush away their subdued anger. You can’t blame them — you were all in your tenth standard. Brother, you showed some magnanimity in not mentioning the teacher’s name in your suicide note. And that came handy for the management. He taught the boys for another five years before he retired. Between that cold January and sweltering March, only we suffered the loss — your mother, father and brother.

Mary Hazel says: “Many people who commit suicide do that to take revenge upon other people. When we get a distress call we convince them that only they lose. The husband they want to avenge against would get married once they are gone. Life will go on for others, and even your close relatives will soon fill in that void which happen in their lives.”

Last day a student came to me. I didn’t know what to say as she showed her wrist with a healed gash. “Why did you do it?” She told me that her father is in prison. And her mother doesn’t trust the good-looking girl for reasons beyond logic. “I am going through hell, sir. My mother thinks that everyone is after me.” When she couldn’t stand the tantrums her mother threw, she decided to teach her mother a lesson.

I thought about you, brother.

Even though both of you join in your hosannas for praising death as a generous host, a wide sea separates you from her, brother. Because that girl is in this part of the world. She has time to think and can still come back through prayers or friends. Can you, brother?

You wouldn’t believe how the world has changed since you have gone. Very few have time to think about your loss, these days.

You didn’t create a revolt; you didn’t make a point; you didn’t upset the people you wanted to; you didn’t teach any lesson; you didn’t upturn even a single leaf by your death. Even we have learned to live, evading the painful memories of you.

You died on Feb. 2, 1984.


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About Manu Remakant

Manu has written 298 stories in Rum, Road & Ravings. You can read all posts by here.

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