I opened today’s newspaper to find a headline that almost leapt out at me, as if trying to urge me to write something I had been putting off for a couple days now.
September happens to be the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
I had mulled over the idea of writing a post on suicides since the beginning of this month, but kept putting it off. I just couldn’t find the right tone to express my thoughts on the matter. But, today’s news changed it all.
Syed Nasser Hussain, a resident of Deonar, Mumbai, was returning home from work from Vashi. When on the Vashi bridge, he spotted a girl trying to jump off the bridge into the creek below. Syed Hussain got off his scooter, hurried to the girl and pulled her back in the nick of time.
He then spent an hour counselling the girl, asking her what the matter was, why she had decided to take such a drastic step.
Hearing her story about a heartbreak, he then counselled her and took her to her home. On reaching her home, they found the house locked as her parents had gone to a hospital. Taking the keys from her neighbours, Syed left the girl inside, and asking the neighbours to keep an eye on her, left the place.
While driving back, though, he had this strong feeling that he should not have left the girl alone at home in this condition, and so, he turned around and drove back to her house. On reaching, when he tried to open the door, he found it locked from within. With the help of her neighbours, he broke open the door only to find his intuition right.
The girl had hung herself from the ceiling fan.
They untied her off the fan and rushed her to a hospital. Yesterday the doctors informed the newspaper reporter that the girl was out of danger.
The girl’s father thanked Syed Hussain profusely.
Syed Hussain was a stranger to the girl. Yet, when he felt something amiss, he decided to help her. And, in doing so, twice in a night, he had saved a life. A precious life which would have gotten wiped out had Syed not stopped his scooter that night; a death that would have left behind heartbroken parents with nothing but memories of their only child.
In our hectic lives, how often do we stop and pause to think about what someone said or did that felt abnormal; something that seemed to be a silent cry for help, but in not as many words?
Do we even give a moment’s thought about what the person might have implied?
Each of us faces hardships in life. And, let’s not even get started on the kind of hardships that we are subjected to. We fight right till the end, with every ounce of our strength we can muster. Sadly, there are some who are left with no willpower to continue fighting; no support from the world and no desire to even keep running towards the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Some just prefer to end it all rather than keep fighting and keep living a miserable life.
And, with the loneliness and the depression tormenting them night and day, and with no one to offer them the necessary support, they give it all up.
And, end up being just a statistic.
The Suicide Awareness Campaign might not find a better mascot than Syed Hussain, who went out of his way to save the life of a stranger. Not only did he save her once, but heeding his intuition, he reached out to her twice. He counselled her about not giving up because some idiot broke her heart.
To quote Syed Hussain, “I have had long conversations with her dad. She needs to be taken care of. I have told her he must support her to complete her education. She must grow into a confident woman who does not see unfaithfulness of a man as the end of the world.”
How many of us would leave aside our work, our busy schedules, if we were to spot someone trying to end their life? How many of us would even pay attention to what someone says in a moment of despair?
All the person needs is a patient ear; someone who holds their hand and asks what the matter really is. All they need is to talk their heart out to someone who will just hear them out, not judge them, or give unsolicited advice without knowing the entire story. Someone who will read the real meaning behind their sad smiles and their artificial laughter and their overeagerness to appear “normal”, when in reality, they are crumbling from within.
Do we have it in us to be that someone who listens, really listens, and doesn’t let go just because the person in front of us won’t open up about the pain they suffer?
it really takes very little time to help out people in distress. It takes just a few words to heal a sad, broken heart. And, it takes just a few moments to save a life from becoming a statistic.
All you need to do, is reach out.