(A short fiction by Sidharth Vardhan
Find all parts of ‘Diary of a Cynical Suicide’ here
So often one hears people say that everyone who lives must die. I wonder if they ever think about what it implies. That living is dying. That life is a slow poison – arguably the slowest of them all but hardly one with least suffering. On the contrary, one that makes one suffer the most.
And there is more truth to the above argument than a mere play at words. Because at some point in our lives, we do become conscious of the presence of this poison in our chest, that makes one suffer like an invisible dragger already deep into our heart – there are so many names for this feeling – the great sadness of life, the existinal crisis, the littleness of our existence, the meaninglessness of whole thing, but whatever you may call it, sooner or later you will feel it. At that point, there are only two honest ways of reacting to the situation – killing oneself or going mad.
Most of us though chose to be hypocrites. We chose to live in illusions and lies we build ourselves for it. I’m a hypocrite too, but I guess I am just not good at it.
There is no cool way to enter the world. You enter it, washed with the blood of your mother and your first act is to cry upon the first sight of the world (I often wonder if babies are wiser than they seem, and they just forget it all as they grow older) but leaving this world …. that is in our own hand. I do not want to leave this world after a long illness full of suffering – that is one sadness of our life I wish to avoid. I would want to leave when I am still in full control of our limbs. I will choose a day to be last and make it the most fantastic them of all. Ending on a high .. that is my dream.
Given how much money one gives to save the life of a dying person – even though their life is so full of suffering one wonders whether we are all jailers to each other. We are the prisoner here in this world, but we are also like jailers to each other. And we take every suicide, every death as a failure.
Almost every day, my breakfast involves sitting with women who must go on gossiping about people or complaining about them the whole time. It annoys me to see how little people like each other. Today, besides the usual, I was given a special sweet dish too. It was a passing reference to a handicapped girl in their gossip, which made me ask more about the girl. It was a 16-year-old girl handicapped from the entire lower body. Her mother is her 24*7 caretaker whom she beats in agony. She is so miserable, I am told, that she can’t even use a wheelchair. She must crawl to every place. She has a child-like mind, and shits in her clothes. In talking about her, her mother calls her a punishment.
I sat there thinking what thoughts must go in her mind – still that of a child, whose whole existence is a humiliation. I think of her mother who must have been looking after her for years now – feeling punished and thus guilty for some unknown crime. I wonder where the girl consciously chose to shit in her clothes because using toilets must be so much hard work, so much humiliation. I wonder how she must have taken the bodily changes of a teenager. Did her heartbeat for a handsome stranger? Did she then understand that she was in love? I hope she didn’t. Ignorance is bliss. She must be so powerless that she can’t even kill herself, whenever she would realise how hopeless her existence is. At least I am lucky enough to be able to kill myself.
I wonder about her mother who now surely was face to face to with the ugliness of human life and yet couldn’t afford to kill herself, go mad or look for distractions. How brave she must be, to live face to face with truth constantly. I, for one, was scared within first few minutes. None of the consolatory words, the one-liners of old wisdom came to my mind that could delude this picture. I, sat there, my breakfast forgotten, once again looking for old distractions and realizing what a big coward I was. And telling myself, no one should have a right to question a suicide when it is so hard to make it through one’s breakfast.
Nietzsche once said that the thought of suicide is enough to make one go through some of the hardest nights. The last night was one such night. Perhaps this whole piece is a result of such cognition from my part. What I wonder is that it (the thought of Nietzsche) came from a man who degradingly called all (what I would rather call) soft emotions and qualities (kindness, compassion etc) feminine and thus insulting the qualities and female half of population (no wonder probably died a virgin), instead choosing believing the world needs and will ultimately get a Superman. For I think these depressions, anxieties and panic attacks which I seem to share with him are soft too or to use Nietzsche’s language feminine.
Sometimes I think I want to suicide merely to be able to write a suicide letter. It is going to be the best thing I write. I mean, I will be dying to make it come alive. Voltaire once said something like we must work if we are not to kill ourselves. But what if my best work is to be my last work. I want to be like a Swan, who reserves their best songs for the last.
You have to be suicidal to understand those philosophers I guess. I already quoted Nietzsche and Voltaire. One more quote comes to my mind – where Camus wonders what he should do with this lovely morning? Kill himself or make himself a cup of coffee. I always thought it was just something that sounds cool but surely no one would have that a mindset. But at the moment, I myself can’t decide whether to publish these notes and kill myself or watch ‘The Guardians of Galaxy’.
Camus was lucky though. He died in a car accident. He didn’t have to make an effort to die young. He probably didn’t suffer a lot while dying. I’m envious.
Some of my suicide attempts seem to have nothing more than an action to render force to my reproaches. Because at some point, quantity just isn’t enough. You need to do it once and in a style.
It really isn’t as easy to kill oneself. It does need a lot of sadomasochistic courage, especially if you aren’t used to killing people – try making a single cut with a blade on your body before you call a suicide a coward. (Tried. Momentary pain
…And it needs more commitment than marriage. You almost need to get drunk on your grief and, of course, ignore hope’s new aspirations.
Hope, you see, is a bitch. She promises and promises but never turns out at time of rhenzdevious. And then just when you have enough of her, she comes back and seduces you with more promises.
They say that foresight was one misery that remained behind in Pandora’s box. I think one of them had to stay in while other got out – hope or foresight. Because those with foresight will have no use for hope. And those with hope will avoid foresight for fear that to find the trust they put in their hopes wasted. Hope is the lies we believe in to stay alive. Foresight brings us face to face with truth and so makes want to kill ourself.
I do prefer foresight over hope though. In a tale by Anderson, Death showed a mother whose child it had taken awake two futures of his child – one full of happiness and greatness and all that, the other full of misery. It told her that the child could live either one of two if it came to life again. Death then asked her if she still wanted the child. She said no and walked away weeping. You might think she was pessimistic and could as well have been optimistic or that she must have let the child live even if it was a miserable life. (Those against euthanasia and suicide prefer years of suffering existence over death.)
But you don’t get it. I think the mother understood that even the life full of greatness and happiness wasn’t really happy – but just another miserable life in better clothes. There was no way the child could live happily. Where there is foresight, there is no scope for hope.
It is thus I conclude that if more mothers (including mine) don’t kill their children than that because foresight remained in Pandora’s box. And it would be good. Humans are able to bear suffering because they take it moment by moment and hope that it will end any moment now – never learning from experience. But imagine if the mother of the handicap girl I mentioned above was to see her and her daughter’s future at once at the time of child’s birth, see her little daughter crawl her way around in the world. Tell me, don’t you think she would have gathered the courage to kill her daughter?
Thus foresight might be an evil itself but it also frees you from.sugfering on hands of other evils. A world gifted by foresight would be a far happier place. Lesser and happier population. But this is empty speculation. The point is I think I’m gifted with the foresight of some sort. Not Pandora box one, but I do believe I can see some patterns. And mine show paths full of misery.
There are already too many of these notes. I don’t know why I write them. Not for myself. Not for others either. Even if I have some unconscious desire for someone who would read them and reach out with a helping hand, these notes must end here. People have 140 characters attention span these days, I don’t think people will care to read these notes anyway. Carlin said a writer can’t kill himself, he will write a book out of his misery, perhaps he was right I wish I had never learned to write.
I think of lots of such fanciful explanations as I might use to prevent someone from dying – I imagine this potential suicide to be a girl – a blond, a hot one (I still am full of Damsel-in-distress fantasies) but no such fantasies will help me – now that handicapped girl sits on my mind belying all of them. Will such a caretaker be able have anything rational to deter thee girl if later was to chose to kill herself?
A dramatic imbalance exists in my life. The people who care for me so much, do not make me care enough to live. And those whom I care about, think not much about me. I think of these later and want to kill myself and I feel guilty for being cruel to former.
My whole existence has become a mental conversation with a person and nothing she will ever say will end it now. And I too have mere reproaches (though she is innocent) because of her inability to end it. I must die or run the risk of becoming a sort of Bertha Mason.
This diary must stop here, I’m tired of whining about my life.
Hey, saying that ‘im tired of whining about my life’ itself sounds like whining.