(A short fiction by Sidharth Vardhan
September 15, 2018)
Find all parts of ‘Diary of a Cynical Suicide’ here
I return to these notes guilty as I have yet again failed to kill myself. Guilty as I have humiliated both myself and these notes, which are my best endeavor, to be honest. I won’t make any excuses. After all, to whom I am to make them. The whole point of talking to a paper is knowing that the paper understands.
There was a time when, after considering how much pain I am always in, I thought I would make a great artist. I mean think Van Gogh with his anxiety attacks, Proust with ridiculous sensitiveness, Woolf with her secret wings of imagination that she could not use to fly because she didn’t have a room of her own, Dostoevsky with his epileptic attacks, Kafka with his fear of never understood, Passoa with his self-imposed loneliness. I believed that everything beautiful must be born of a touch of a suffering hand. The mothers going through extreme pain give birth to children. A lover’s teardrops must surely have dropped, as that Sufi poet claimed, where flowers bloom now. But then I realized all of us are suffering to some extent – all seven billion of us. How many of us ever create something beautiful? The relationship that I believed to have existed between artistic creativity and pain arises out of the fact, that artists have the art required to present their suffering in a beautiful manner and thus getting our attention and compassion en masse. We do not generally spare time to think of sufferings of other, what is more, if they were to talk about it, it would bore us and we would want to run away and forget the monotonous episode in no time. That is why I am talking here in open, I know no one will care to read it through.
Sometimes I come across an innocent kid – still world virgin, lost in its games, laughing in the naive magnificent manner in which only children can laugh, I feel compelled to caution it but someone else has done it already – told the kid not to laugh out loud, not in open. Flaunting your happiness out in open is naive – one must hide it and feel guilty about the fact of one’s happiness in case one gets it.
At other times though when I come across a kid, a rose, a beautiful woman with a charming smile – it fills me with a kind of hope, even though they may stay ignorant of my presence. This hope that suddenly inflects with a wish to live is something that would have stayed inexplicable to me, had not a similar hope prompted Myshkin to announce in a moment of false epiphany “Beauty will save the world.” If I remember it right, Myshkin made this statement upon coming across a miracle of feminine beauty. Though Myshkin may be fictional, I wonder how many real people would have felt the same way. And before another moment has passed, the memory ( for though I haven’t seen him do so, I seem to remember seeing him) Van Gogh look out of his window of his asylum at the end of painful day and paint the starry sky (one of a handful of truly beautiful things in the world). I am sure if I had asked him (for as I told you, I was there, silently watch him, work his miracle on canvas why must he paint when he suffers so much from all that is brutal, cruel and wrong in the world, he would have answered that beauty gives him hope amid all this suffering.
For myself, all these hopes no longer deceive me. The truth is the most beautiful woman of the world as well as saints as big as Jesus farted, shitted, ditto is true for artists and if you were to cut open their corpses they would smell as terribly as the rest of us. The youngest of the kids already are suppressing the most traumatic of the memories of terrible parents, dark dreams and who knows what? If for nothing else, the experience of being born – of being pulled out of your home of 9 months must be traumatic enough. A rose or all flowers if that matter is nothing but sexual organs of plants often castrated by those who claim to admire them.
If art manages to create something beautiful than it is because the artists choose to ignore the ugly aspects of so-called beautiful things. All works that are beautiful are thus, by definition incomplete and beautiful only because they are incomplete. Complete them and like the last work of the sculptor in the story of Lazarus from that Russian writer of silver age whose name I can’t remember, everyone will find the work detestable. Beauty might have saved the world, Myshkin if it wasn’t an illusion born of looking at an incomplete picture.
I name them ‘notes of a cynical suicide’ because people tell me I am very cynical. I like to think I am just plain old honest and very observant – but perhaps that is the definition of a cynic in a world where hypocrisy is taken for gentility, good manners, and politeness.
Trivial as it may sound, table manners is one of the things that drive me to kill myself. It is one of those false virtues which plague human existence in general and me in particular. Machines can do stuff in proper order and manner. Let me be wild in my ways so I can be alive.
I want to die because I am bored of this world. I am bored because I am not easily entertained – and this inability to find entertainment ( or pleasure, satisfaction or fulfillment) easily in life is something I am arrogantly proud of, Animals and children are easily entertained and pleased, It is a mark of a low IQ brain to be happy so easily.
Death remains a sort of consolatory Prize for me. How much yearn for never existing in the first place.
I laugh in face of those who think humanity is a wonderful thing and that we have a great future ahead of us. I laugh and point to them to the stray puppy in my street whose tail is now constantly inside his legs. You can’t pass the street without intimating it and scaring it to withdraw a few steps away from you. The innocent creature has learned to fear humans – and what tortures it must have gone through to be like this, I leave to your imagination. That dog presents you the true face of humanity – in all its ugliness. Cruelty is first nature of humans and it is why we will never stop producing wars, psychopaths and riots. If you still doubt what I am saying and want to argue that this was don’t by people frustrated by their lives to relieve their frustration. Then I will tell you – that no, it wasn’t. It was done by kids as young as five and for sake of entertainment.
Rape, child molestation, slavery, child pornography, murder, genocide – there is not a single crime imaginable that at least some human beings haven’t committed. There is nothing beautiful about humanity.
I am a Spider Jerusalem who wants to run away to a mountain away from this sewerage of humanity. I don’t need to go traveling the world, like Gulliver, to see through the masks of love and compassion people wear.
Perhaps you will call me misanthropic for what I just said. But you can’t obviously hate me for being like this – or, in at least as much as you hate me, you will be misanthropic yourself.
I hear you arguing that it is one thing to complain about what is wrong in the world but one must be the change one wants to see. And I agree. I am the change I want to see. I want the human beings – all of us to leave each other alone to die. And loving almost all the day in my own room, I have left the humanity alone already. I avoid newspapers so that humanity might not enter the privacy of my room from the window.
An expression comes to my mind – ‘a beggar’s delight’. I don’t know what it means. A king’s delight is a large and happy kingdom. A foodie’s delight is delicious food. A doctor’s delight is in health and hygiene (apart from sexy nurses). I wonder what a beggar will delight in? Begging? Having his or her needs fulfilled? Or not having his or her needs fulfilled? I don’t expect an answer. The expression is meaningless just like everything else that ever entered in my mind. Yet I will call my own life ‘a beggar’s delight’ since the expression seems so poetic in its meaninglessness, like my own life.
Pain Letter -3
I failed to be a friend to you and you failed to be a friend to me. I loved you and your efforts to humor my love by your little lies also failed to achieve anything, though they made things worse. In the end, I failed to be a decent person too. I asked you to cut me off, but you refused and kept on refusing. Then you did cut me off, and I suffer now and want to have you back – knowing it will always get worse. In your presence, I had become so pathetic that I had come to hate myself. And yet I want you around again, knowing fully well that I would be my same old detestable self. I feel sleepy but am unable to go to bed for fear that you will torment my thoughts.
You once said I am unhappy because I avoid happiness. But now you know what happens when I chase happiness.
Screaming when in need of help seems to be a self-defense act that must have an obvious evolutionary incentive. Actually, all the urges to scream are boring out of despair. Despair is what you feel when you are no longer at peace with the world around. Danger, needing for help are just a few such cases. The evolutionary incentive lies in the fact that screaming does sometimes changes things – gets help.
Even the animals and infants scream when they need help. By the time you reach adulthood though, you lose this habit to a social conditioning in which you learn to need help and ask for it is pathetic. You must look happy, you must pretend to be if you aren’t, for been seen unhappy will get you mockery. Thus people suffer in silence for fear of being labeled drama queens if they were to chose about their suffering.
But then you might have seen adults scream when in anguish – for example when they have lost a dear one. Well, yes, the society does permit you the particular length of the period in which it is okay to be miserable, is given real conditions like losing a dear one or when you have a terminal disease or lost some limb etc. But after that certain mourning period, you must start to hide your suffering or risk being labeled ‘abnormal’.
Moreover, even when adults scream in such condition as above, they scream not asking or expecting help. The screaming in such cases is an act of despair just like other forms of screaming, but it is no longer call for help, for such adults never actually expect help. The screaming in such cases is just a desperate and miserable effort to enact such a change. You scream, not so much to be heard, but just to break away from things as they are, to break the silence that surrounds you and seems to be in process of smothering you. Other acts done with similar motivation is breaking and throwing things and trying to hurt/kill oneself. Such acts are not the calls for help – that stage was long skipped over by these people thanks to the culture of shame but acts of despair at their inability to accept the fact that they can’t be helped.
If you are unable to bury deep inside you this need for screaming and breaking things, you are labeled lunatic. If you bury them but not deep inside or not successfully, you are likely to commit suicide.
Despair is the most natural state of life. Dead don’t despair and they don’t need to. Living, on the other hand, are in despair even when they are happy, perhaps of fear that this happiness won’t last. Nothing despairs like happiness. Women in act of sexual intercourse, scream in despair of their pleasure.
Those who talk about valuing human life must know that a life is of different value to different people. And the only value of life that really matters is the value which each person attaches to his or her own life (and not the value we attach to the life of to others).
A coward is someone who knows what the right thing to do is and fails to do it of pitiable fears. I am a coward, not because I want to kill myself but in that, I keep on failing to do that. I am a coward in that I know the right thing to do for me is to kill myself and still am unable to do so, choosing instead to make a big drama with these notes when I know every bit of food I eat is wasted and might have fed a starving child who might have made something of his own life or, at the very least, fed an animal whose life is important to itself and thus important. On me, it is 3ntirely wasted.
I sometimes imagine someone reading these notes and trying to psychoanalyze me. But why should they have all the fun out me and I should get nothing back? Maybe I will throw in some terrible symptoms just to fools those good-for-nothing goody two shoes. Maybe I believe everyone around me is planning to kill me and thus suffer from paranoia. Maybe I am depressed because I am born to great things I am unable to do and thus this delusion of personal greatness. Like Jesus, I will say I am God’s own son and suckers, as people are, for such religious nonsense people will soon believe it. Maybe I too will start believing in it. Or maybe I will talk about things that are obviously hallucinations like the princess of Venus paying me a visit last night. It could all be so much fun.
A time traveler visited me this morning to tell me that Punjab is going to suffer from a major drought in next couple of years and will kill half its children. I wonder why he told me about it – me, who is the least able to do anything about it? I am trying to contact the authorities but all.i can do is sulk in despair.
Pain Letter – 4
It is happening again. I feel like contacting you again and start accusing you of coming back. Why couldn’t I ask you to stay away that day when you asked what I want? Why couldn’t I question you for cutting the call that day? Tell me if there is a way out of this other than death? I’m hating myself, I am hating how pathetic I have become and I would rather be dead than be this. I won’t ask you to help me because you can’t. You are incapable of it. Yet I wish to pick up an argument with you. Every argument with you is started by me as that one last cigarette before I could quit smoking.