A story often comes with a moral. There is a takeaway, moments where one feels connected with either the protagonists or the scenes. It is these parts where we connect - the emotional highs-and-lows that leave an indelible mark on us. I picked up ‘The Story Of A Suicide’ with no idea that I was in for an emotional ride. There were many parts where I felt the pain of Charu. I related to her loneliness - the rebellious nature, spur-of-the-moment manners and her vulnerability. Not only her, I felt helpless for the 6-year-old boy, who was raped by his maternal uncle and longed for an embrace from his mother who was busy battling her own demons. I wanted to magically appear into the book and rescue that little boy - to be his sister, whom he loved and trusted but could never share his agony. I even felt sorry when his friend and the love of his life, asks, ‘Are you ashamed of being gay?’
‘The Story Of A Suicide’ by Sriram Ayer is a book that talks about the problems youngsters face - seeking individuality, embracing themselves, facing their demons, burying the past and rising above it. If we pronounce and define them more prominently, the book deals with - child molestation, rape, sexual orientation, suicide, craving validation, cyber stalking and bullying, love and deceit. The four protagonists are everyday characters who appear normal on the surface, but deep down they have parts of us. We connect with their manners, like - posting our lives on social media, being vocal and outright about our opinions, and still not being able to untangle our emotions. Here are Sam, Charu, Mani and Hari for you -
- Sam - a rich boy with looks and brain who somehow fails to get real love; and resorts to wayward manners to take revenge.
- Charu - an educated, rebellious and beautiful girl who is lost in the labyrinth of her own emotions.
- Mani - a laborer’s son who rose by studying hard and succumbs to the education system and tries to end his life. Sadly, his father also attempted to kill him when he was a child.
- Hari - a boy molested at the tender age of six by his maternal uncle who finds a lover and a friend in his college mate.
Two characters with less presence but a lot of impact -
- Alex, college teacher, who goes to lengths to help his students. He also displays a great depth of relationships.
- Mr Narendar Hegde, Hari’s father who constantly worries about his son. In Chapter 11, Dance of Death, there is a subconscious connection where he senses his son is in the clutches of a beast.
The USP of the book -
- It’s available online for free.
- On each chapter, there are tips to overcome the problems. You can click and read to get insights that would come handy to help the ones in need.
- The audio version is also available along with ebook. This was one reason I was able to finish the book in a day as I listened to the book while doing chores. It was a novel experience for me. However, there is one bump, chapter 19 audio book has chapter 18’s audio.
- Beautiful and meaningful illustrations which make this book a visual spectacle.
My Favorite Chapters -
- Caesar meets Draupadi
- My father
- Strangers in the night
- Facebook post
- Being vulnerable
It’s refreshing to read a book that deals with sensitive issues without being preachy. Above all, it’s a book where you will find that the only way to overcome a problem is to face it, spell it out and share it with a friend or family. Some beautiful lines that resonated with me and gave me a lot of wisdom -
“Much of our problems can be negated by killing our impulsive and reflexive responses. Aren’t our responses mostly to fight? Inflicting pain on ourselves with the hope that our pain will hurt the other is plain stupid. People just don’t care…
...In the fight to hurt each other we forget why we had started the fight in the first place. It is important for both the parties to stop and introspect on how it all began. Let us not forget the purpose, which is to live. It is important to fight but peace and a purposeful life is the goal. Sometimes giving up the fight is also a solution,"
While growing up and even in my 20s I faced many problems, in my understanding we should do the following to kick the butt of it -
- Accept and Embrace - First, accept your problem. Then, embrace it. I am bad at Maths and there is nothing wrong with it.
- Correct, What You Can - Put all your head and heart to solve the problem. There are certain things we can fix. Fix, what can be mended. More importantly, accept that certain things can’t be fixed. If someone doesn’t want to be in your life. You can’t do anything about it.
- Talk and Pour Your Heart Out - Talk to someone who listens without passing a judgement. Talk to your friend, relative or a family member. Spelling out your problems and pouring your heart out reduces the pain. Don’t bury your thoughts inside of you. Say it loud!
- Move On - As Mani says, ‘Giving up the fight is also a solution,’ move on. Life is a beautiful book. If one chapter is bad, move ahead. With positive and fresh mind, a lot good will happen in future.
Pick this book to understand how a problem magnifies in the minds of youngsters and how can they deal with it.
Recommendation - YES
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P. S. - Link to read the book - www.storyofasuicide.com