"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, and the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be." -Marcel Pagnol
I am writing this in the context of a second suicide case in two years in my University hostel. Both cases involved young men in their 20’s and both point towards deep emotional trauma as the cause for their extreme step. I am a die-hard optimist and believe in the adage “Life is good, come what may”, and I have been distressed by the fact that we have, as a society, been pushing individuals to the wall so much that they decide to give up.
Why is it that it is young men, and not women who took away their lives in similar fashion here? Is it because the women on campus don’t undergo testing times? Certainly, that is not the case. The answer, I believe lies in the fact that our society brings up boys and girls differently. Boys are unfortunately taught to never be sensitive and weak overtly. If you have problems, learn to deal with them by yourself. “Be man enough” (!) is a common line hurled at them when they show signs of being weak mentally or emotionally. I blame this tendency for the two suicides. We fail to provide individual males with adequate support systems to deal with stress, with anxieties, with insults and setbacks in life. We fail to provide the sympathetic ear and the sensitive shoulder to the average male. This problem is only aggravated in the case of bachelor research scholars who have no regular classes to attend, no great possibilities of venting out pent up emotions. If we had a system where every male was made to feel that it is okay to take counsel from a close person, was allowed to release built-up emotions, was allowed to weep, express anguish and show weaknesses, we could have prevented such incidents.
I hope we can build a society where individuals don’t strive too hard living up to societal stereotypes since in this simple-looking process, lives are lost. This loss of lives is only the worst (and dare I say, occasional) manifestation of a deeper prevalence of unexpressed anguish, unresolved pain and unvented emotions.
Boys do cry, and they do have a feeling heart, and a sensitive mind, and it is high time we recognize this fact and prevent snuffing out lives of bright individuals who could have contributed greatly to the betterment of our society.