A Life is for Living -reflecting on Jiah Khan’s suicide

After a hiatus, again an event so tragic , so unnecessary..a waste of the incredible gift that is life, it draws me to my writing table again.

Jiah khan. Suicide. 25 years old. Depressed. Hurt , may be even abused in love, she finds it enough reason to throw away everything and hang her herself. I am shocked.

The mother in me has to analyse this and worry…what is it that this girl lacked? What made her crumble so at that one moment…why did she choose to end the possibility of any wondrous treasures life had in store for her…why not a call for help ..to your mother , a best friend?  What is it that I have to do to make sure my daughter makes the right choice at the vital moment?

Is the rosy picture of love that Bollywood paints? A Raj played by ShahRukh Khan who embodies all the values a girl will want… one who will fast with you if you are fasting on Karva Chauth and read your mind and buy you the perfect gift on your birthday?

Is it something in the social conditioning, that a young girl needs a Prince Charming to complete her life? Beautiful, independent, may not be supremely successful, yet she had only started on her career. Is that not complete enough? Why make a man responsible for completing your life and filling it with happiness?

You can read the full text of the supposed suicide note here (http://www.masala.com/38621-did-jiah-khans-terminate-her-pregnancy), but  see some of the statements in here

“You never even met my sister. I bought your sister presents”

“It hurt me so much that I waited for you for 10 days and you didn’t bother buying me something”

“You chose to be away from me on Valentine’s Day.”

“I wish you had loved me like I loved you”

“All I wanted was you and my happiness, you took both away from me”

Even in this tragic end, I can only say “What Nonsense!”Each of these lines is rooted in materialistic expressions of love. Or what the movies and today’s society propagates. So many rapes and acid attacks, so many young suicides for failed love (as they call it). While just a generation or so ago, most of our happily married parents have never celebrated Valentine’s day. Their love was validated in standing together in tough times, in sickness and in pain. And they did not need a huge 5 carat diamond if the husband forgot the anniversary.(See Seagram Ad here if you have not seen it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RId_UXL3rI8 ).  His simply remembering to pick up her favourite fruit from the market on his way home,  on just any day was enough.

Coming back to Jiah, Everyone has had that one TERRIBLE moment when the world around you seems meaningless, was not the rosy tinted picture they had been painting all along. But what you do at that moment, is what matters the most.

I recollect one of the most powerful pieces of spiritual writing I have read , Eckart Tolle’s Power of Now . The author’s journey of spiritual awakening began at the pinnacle of depression ,at the same suicide point .In his words,

“I awoke in a state of dread and intense fear, more intense than I had ever experienced before. Life seemed meaningless, barren, hostile. It became so unbearable that suddenly the thought came into my mind, “I cannot live with myself any longer.” The thought kept repeating itself several times. Suddenly, I stepped back from the thought, and looked at it, as it were, and I became aware of the strangeness of that thought: “If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me – the I and the self that I cannot live with.” And the question arose, “Who is the ‘I’ and who is the self that I cannot live with?” There was no answer to that question.”

Thus, in my role as a mother and a teacher, I must teach my daughter to reach for the sky like an eagle, soar and glide  alone, relishing every moment of the world from high above….but remember she has to land. What goes up, must come down. And once you are down, there is no place to go but up!  At homes and classrooms we must explore this ephemeral nature of life, whether in reading Ozymandias in an English lesson or interpreting the lessons in History, where great rulers have risen from the ashes.

This is what an education must do, so when you are at that tipping point,  the learning comes back and helps you find your balance and live. To know that events in your life are not in your control completely , but they do not define who you are either. Your job is to just live every moment of your life, drawing energy from each experience. Good or Bad. Then suicide is clearly not an option!

“When we understand that the ability to live with any situation is not in what happens, but in our relationship to ourselves and our own minds, we are free. Absolutely, breathtakingly free.” ~ Geneen Roth


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