Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Today I heard the news of a Marathi film producer who had committed suicide after putting up a Facebook post about ending his life. In fact, he also got riled that people were liking the post but not reaching out to him.So, he apparently chastised his followers, consumed poison, and died.

What struck me is that a couple of days ago (or was it yesterday), I had put up a post asking for some kind of prayer to help me get through the news of the raped girl. One friend sent me a hug. I got several views on that post but no comments. Since I have been on social media, especially blogger, for a long while now I know that views don't really translate into connect. In fact, in every office that I have worked, people have read my blog but never come right out to say that they have read it. Even for the posts where I  expressed distress, etc., the people who read my blog by night and made eye contact with me by day did not reach out. I wonder if they were embarassed. Anyway, I think that when you write to express something, the expression itself must be the coping mechanism. When the anxiety is out, the strength unspools. It is best not to expect commiseration.

I feel really sad about the producer. He had reached out. 


Anonymous said...

Remember, everyone is fighting their own battles too. Someone may be reading your blog or a Facebook post because it helps them fight their battles a little bit better. It would of course be wonderful if they would reach out to you or the poster, and sort of help each other out. But that would be asking for perfection in an imperfect world.

Reaching out is an act of commitment in and of itself. It is a massive step forward. And isn't that really the beauty and sadness of our world? That the yin and yang exist simultaneously but somehow don't always (if ever) find each other. There are questions and there are answers; there are people distressed and people wanting to help out; there are writers and there are readers. And yet, in spite of it all, so much is still and always unresolved.

Of course, apart from this, there is pure apathy, numbness, and general desensitization that are part of it all as well. But that is the shitty, non poetic side of it.

mukta raut said...

Like I wrote... I don't exactly look for support when I write anymore because I feel if you give anything enough time, things do get better. And whoever needs to help you, will. But I do think, fighting Your own battles or not, if reading about someone else's state just made things a little easier for you and you moved on, maybe it's time to rethink one's own humanity and capacity for compassion. Maybe if someone had just written to the producer something like don't do it, he might have lived. Someone publicly posting about suicide is a cry for help. And if such a cry gave a person help to carry on and not reach out... I have nothing to say about that.

Bohemia said...

Hi Mukta, am mostly one of the culprits who always reads your blogs but never felt that posting a response will make you happy. Over the years your joy of Bombay as a city has always made my day. The blog on the rape and horrible murder of the girlyesterday was extremely distressing. It questions my faith and beliefs but I generally use work as a panacea to get over any emotions...what else can we do?

Anonymous said...

I am with you. It would be great if everyone had a capacity for active compassion and reached out to help. But that also opens up a whole other can of worms and goes back to your belief system and view of the world. You are assuming that someone reaching out and helping out would have helped the person motor on some more. And it probably would. But I can also see how in certain situations (way more often that most people would imagine), such intermittent rays of hope and "leases of life" don't really help. It may keep things a little ways off of boiling point. That works for you and I because our news feed doesn't get consumed by these ugly stories. But for the persons living them out, I am not sure if it makes their life any markedly better.

Not advocating anything here, but if someone is seeking closure on any issue in life (or life itself) I can sort of understand. Unless you are able to offer actual medicine to go with it, a mere band-aid or a sedative isn't of much help. As I said, goes back to your life view.

On a separate note, I also think small things like screening comments for moderation etc., can spurn away someone in distress from reaching out. Cuz I imagine, at that point, for a person looking so badly for an outlet, even the slightest roadblock can be a sign to just keep to themselves.

mukta raut said...

May I ask you something? I am genuinely curious. Why are you anonymous? You didn't say anything insulting. Were you expecting your comment to be deleted or me to say something nasty?

In the letter, he the producer has written that he had wanted to consume poison for a few days but lost the nerve and so he had been drinking instead. Do you see...can you...Do you not think that even a 'ray of hope, however small, however trite - might have helped? You get to the real solutions if you live through a dark night, no? He had tried. He was using alcohol for a few nights in a row and then he wrote a post...and no-one said anything.

I guess collectively we can all try to let ourselves off the hook by saying whatever we say to our selves. But you know all the messages out there that are telling people about not suffering in silence, et...many who take their lives are NOT suffering from silence. They used their voices. They didn't get heard.

But tell me something? Would you have written this if you I was not allowing anonymous comments? I don't know if you have a blog or something - but if you do, you know exactly the kind of crappy messages that come in. I cannot allow that. I have to keep my head above water befoe I help someone else.

But my question to you again - why are you anonymous? Have we met? Do I know you?

Anonymous said...

That's the thing. I am not convinced if someone reaching out would have "helped." The only way I can answer that is to place myself in the person's shoes and sort of 'extrapolate' a situation of what would have been. And that is a wormhole to an infinite number of possibilities.

If I was to think of it as an optimist, I'd think a little bit like you; maybe someone could have talked to him, given him hope, and maybe that would have turned a new page, one that would hopefully lead to a new, positive, fulfilling life.

As a pessimist, I'd think talking to someone would only make the suffering worse. Nobody really cares about anyone else but themselves. Talk is cheap. You utter a few hollow platitudes in someone's direction but eventually leave them to their own devices, to do as they would. You move on, and the person is left just as miserable, a little bit more drained, with one fewer person in the world to potentially make it better for them.

If I was to think of it as a nihilist, I'd say good for him. Life wasn't working out for him and he decided to fix that by ending it. Why is that so bad?

You see? That's the thing. There is no way for us to know. We can only project our life view on the situation and read it back to ourselves. That is why I am just not sure if someone reaching out would have helped him or made it worse, for him. Him being the operative word. This should be about him. Not about you and I sleeping better at night. And we just have no way of knowing what would be good for him, because we haven't lived his life. I wish I was as convinced about it as you are.

And commenting anonymously only helps stay true to the topic. If I am someone you know, you are going to look at what I am saying through a lens of your impression of me. If I am someone you don't know, we will start to get to know each other, and that would adulterate any future conversation. This way, we keep it a little more objective. How do you even know if I am the same person who's commented above! :)

mukta raut said...

I know it's you because of your handwriting. :-D

If you ever need to reach out to anyone, write to me. I don't believe that platitudes don't work. I don't believe that there are any platitudes. So for whatever it's worth, you can reach out to me. mukta.raut@gmail.com.