The Indian society has a taboo on many issues which, in today’s world, are considered quite relevant. I wonder how people hesitate to speak about things like homosexuality, sexual abuse of children, sexual urge of women….well, the list goes on.
We, the new generation, have open-mindedly accepted the truths and realities of life.We are often marked as over-ambitious, fame-hungry, quick-tempered, too vocal about our sexual needs and relationships and having a life that dwells and thrives on social media.
But nobody realizes our inner struggle! The age we are living in, demands a lot from us in every sphere of life, be it education, career or relationship.
This temperament of the society is pretty well reflected in the popular literary works. Authors, obviously, want their books to become popular and therefore, conveniently avoid such controversial topics from playing pivotal roles in their stories. But, that doesn’t mean such things cease to exist; they are and they will be always there in our minds.
My recent read of the book The Story of A Suicide by Sriram Ayer has made me ponder over these issues once again. Sriram has mustered the courage and passion for speaking about the ‘hush hush’ things. The challenges of life faced by us and the ways by which we can overcome them have been skillfully discussed in the form of a gripping story that revolves around four youngsters- Hari, Charu, Sam and Mani.
The lives of the four students get interconnected when they meet each other in KIT. Hari, a victim of child abuse, is often haunted by his nightmares. He couldn’t forget and forgive the person who made his life terrible as a child. Being a member of a local NGO working for child care, I’m touched by the way Sriram Ayer has dealt with this delicate issue. I found my eyes welling up while reading the experiences of Hari as a little, innocent kid.
The book once again has established the fact that child abuse is an alarming problem in India and most of the times, the abuser is a trusted person of the family having access to the home. Our parents have to be more understanding and cautious in order to keep the child secure.”Trust” plays a big role here.
The characters of Sam and Charu are extremely well portrayed. Sam (Sambamurthy) is from a rich family and he wants to have full control not only over his own life but also on the lives of his girlfriends. He is a restless, a bit haughty, egoistic, tech-geek kinda person who wants everything too quickly. He fails to comprehend the feelings of Priya, and then, Charu. He wonders miserably, “I have everything, then why don’t the girls stay?”
Sam’s ego, in fact, determines and seals the fate for the other three main characters in the story. Sams are easy to find in the society, but Charu…. I simply love her and the way her character develops.
Charu is an independent, indomitable soul who knows how to deal with challenges. She is courageous enough to deal with threats, vocal enough to raise her voice in favour of feminism and she respects friendship. She wastes no time save Mani when he tries to commit suicide and instead of criticizing him, Charu tries to understand his problems and wants to resolve them.
The story unveils the way a person is thrown at the edge by the society when he/she does anything that is not in accordance with its norms. A person has every right to live in his own ways and choose his sexual orientation. The book also reveals how a society almost ‘plots’ to make a person feel like as if he/she is worth nothing, that his/her presence is insignificant on this planet. A person devoid of all hope, love and compassion then thinks of ending his ‘insignificant’ life.
But, we should remember, EVERY life is precious and every problem HAS a solution. This is what Charu’s philosophy while Hari fails to grasp it and, the story of a suicide begins.
All the characters in the book are well-developed, including the minor ones as Aditya, Malini, Vishal, Anju, Alex Sir and Mr Hegde.The characters have different shades which help us to identify them with the ones we see in reality.
Sriram Ayer wants to bring a change in our outlook and mindset through his book The Story of A Suicide. I wish more authors will follow his path and contribute in this way towards the society. For as the renowned quote of Albert Einstein goes,
“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the
people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
• Sam blogs at WordPress.com and his blog’s name is “Alchemical Diaries” (that made me happy as my blog is on WP as well)
• The Tam-Brahm jokes of Red Jacket are wonderful (I smiled all the way reading them)
• Charu says in her role as Draupadi, “Why is being chaste, the cornerstone of a woman’s character? And why does that rule never apply to a man?” ( I found my own voice here)
• “Strangers in the night exchanging glances.
Wondering in the night
what were the chances we’d be sharing love
before the night was through?” Frank Sinatra ( I just love him!)
• Last but not the least, excellent illustrations by Ghana! The visuals have accentuated the story.
You can read the entire book here ( I request you to read it)