Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest–whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories–comes afterward. These are games; one must first answer.” -Albert Camus
When one awakes in the morning, opens the papers, and is startled by the news of the suicide of a co-actor, then after the initial despair, outrage,helplessness, what comes to mind is the saying which I have quoted above.
Read news clipping;
“Popular television actress and model Kuljeet Randhawa has hanged herself in her Mumbai apartment, saying she couldn’t cope with life’s pressures any more.
Randhawa, 30, took the extreme step at her home in Juhu, a western suburb of Mumbai, police said.
A maid found her body on Wednesday night and alerted police.
In a suicide note, Kuljeet said she was ending her life, as she was unable to cope with life’s pressures, police said.
Known for her role in serials like Kohinoor and Special Squad, Randhawa was a well-known face in the advertisement world and had acted in several commercials for companies like Pepsi and Whirlpool.
In Kohinoor, she played the character of Irawati Kohli, who has a doctorate in ancient history and archaeology with a special leaning towards India.
Randhawa’s suicide has brought back memories of the suicide by model turned VJ Nafisa Joseph in 2004.”
At the news of Nafisas death , a sea of questions arose furiously in ones mind.Since I never had the chance to interact with her, no answers were forthcoming, except what the newspapers afforded. But I had worked with Kuljeet professionally. So the shock and confusion was manifold. We had been on an outdoor together in Goa, a couple of years back. That was my last meeting with her. She came across as a woman of today, in control of her life, confident and a go-getter.In other words the last person I could have imagined being thus outdone by the vagaries of life. So sad and incomprehensible.
Many conflicting thoughts and desperate need for solutions is what I am flummoxed with. What a waste of a beautiful life of a stunning personality !!Why?
What is apparent from her suicide note and from information garnered are few facts;
a)She was under stress and in pain b)She was unable to cope with that pain c)She was lonely d)All she ‘wanted was to be happy’.What is also glaring is that a few myths/misconceptions of the glamour and glitzy world have been shattered. A relationship gone awry is as impactful, loneliness is more pronounced, vulnerability to pain is as excruciating , if not more, coping with the ‘inner demons’ is independent of outward display of strength and confidence.
None of the above seem reason enough to end our lives to you and me and to a whole lot of commenters who have been almost brutal in the forthrightness of their views about her action, terming her as a ‘loser’, ‘quitter’ and other such unsavoury ‘tributes’. What may seem inane to one may in fact be the ‘elixir’ for another. Coping mechanisms differ, connotation of pain varies, denotation of loneliness can be a thesis and the elusive “happiness” is ofcourse the bait for all suffering as well as the fulcrum of the cycle of birth and death. It defies simple solutions. “It is so simple to be happy,but so difficult to be simple”. I have known very few who profess to have mastered the art.Those who do have the answers are never going to return from their realms of bliss to really exemplify.
This brings me to the sphere of Philosophy. It normally beckons when we have reached the end of our ‘ropes’.To my mind, therein lies the key to this treasure. A life oriented towards going beyond the mundane..Setting the bar higher for ourselves as individuals. A desire to overcome ‘desire, in the conventional use of the term. The need not to take ‘your needs’ seriously. Finding happiness in knowing one has not yet discovered it, defy its dominance by shrugging your shoulders and walking away from its delusional sense of completeness. One tends to grieve at the purposelessness of relationships, fame, glamour, success and life in general. It is true. There is no meaning. If only we concentrated on finding the purpose behind this apparent ‘purposelessness’, make sense of it and free ourselves from the cry of our souls forever.Fix our gaze on the unblinking revelation of the faulty and specious premises on which we base our lives and our personal identity.
I cannot overlook a gnawing restlessness however,which I have been experiencing. Are we as a society, not afflicted with “compassion fatigue’? Do we offer solace to individuals thirsting for help to overcome their fear of loneliness? After all, suicides are a modern day phenomenon comparatively. We may have reached the moon but are we there for our neighbours? We tend to offer lip-service to tales of woe and escape as quickly as possible to our nests of peace or alternatively to nurse our wounds. Kuljeet has sounded a clarion call for us to pause and think. Is it a mere coincidence that Marilyn Monroe, in the past, Nafisa, silk Smitha(South) Kuljeet and others like them, all well renowned and glamorous women, choose to end their lives? Have they been treated as sex objects and therefore felt rebuked and repulsed by life? Do we need to modify our mindset towards these artificial trappings and see the soul within? I think we do.We need to summon the latent goodness inherent and bring it to the fore. Me, you, all of us, have to reassess ourselves as people. Social animals living in a society and therefore entrusted with responsibility to be a source of strength and empathy, does this definition fit the bill?
On speaking to friends, I was told that she had in fact made a dozen or more calls before finally resigning herself to an unknown destination. It stands to reason that all the known addresses failed to sense/respond to her agony and despair. All suicides basically stem from a need for revenge or attention. Either way, we all have to look within and honestly gage how we may have advertently or not, incited the Kuldeeps in our vicinity to bid adieu, because our sensitivity has not been appropriately honed to attuning ourselves to that cry of anguish which may have saved a life.
In a scenario where the compulsions of the mind are beyond comprehension, as parents all we can endeavour to do is bear the onus of slowly metamorphing our children to become philosophers before we make them engineers, doctors, or professionals. Life and its challenges need to be dealt with a ‘sattvik’ mind, with clarity and sanity.I think parents have somehow neglected inculcating the dissection of what is really true and what is merely the accidental result of flawed reasoning through well intentioned but misguided teaching.The really worthwhile things are virtuous activities that make up a happy life.Let us pledge to lead by example.
I cannot resist adding these few lines publicly to Kuldeep. “I wish we had been friends. I regret that I was not there holding your hand and giving you a warm hug, when you needed it the most. If only I could have urged you to see that hope is the panacea for all ills,and that there is a plan unknown to you, waiting to envelop you in its peace. But since none of this took place, I would like to add “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference”. We are not indifferent to your pain kuljeet. You did your best in trying to be happy..