Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thought for the day...

Guard your dreams with ferocity, with passion. Be brutal to those who attempt to scorn at your idiosyncrasies. And stay away from them for good...



-Gauri

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

S0me more points t0 p0nder...

Hey Nehal,

I appreciate your comment on my post about suicides..(read bel0w)
It's a well thought 0ver, rather emotinal response. The points you have made: like suicide being a personal decisi0n, the absurdity which seems t0 y0u in it been labelled a 'crime' d0 n0t appear ill0gical on the surface..

But let me tell you one thing, when I interviewed Ms Anju Sheth of SAATH in 2004, the 0ne p0int she repeated frequently was that a maj0rity of suicide cases are a sheer act of impluse.. there's this crucial period less than half an hour t0 ten minutes when the person l0ses all h0pes, sinks int0 depression and gives up 0n life rand0mly, on impluse...

Can y0u then, justify these m0ments as th0se of astute decision making?? I think not...

Further, she went 0n to say that it is in this crucial period that he/she needs help.. A simple talk, a phonecall, just about anything that takes his mind away from the depressing thoughts can make him pull along...

I would be the last person to take a judgemental stand and say pe0ple wh0 c0mmit suicides are c0wards... H0wever, at the same time, I firmly believe that suicides are not a decent way 0f paying a tribute t0 the life we have g0t...And last of all, t0 call a justifiable decision, however pers0nal it might be...

I w0uld feel bad f0r th0se wh0 take the drastic step 0nly because 0f the extent 0f life they readily all0wed t0 g0 waste on mere assumpti0ns...

It is perhaps through writing and speaking more ab0ut such things that we can do our bid: to let s0me ann0nym0us people kn0w, as i put it, that n0thing is never the end.. and that s00ner or later, life really rules...

Keep writing, keep reading and yes! keep living!!! in the true sense 0f the w0rd :)

PS pl bear with the '0's, the key is giving me trouble...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why suicide....

It was with utter shock and sadness today that I took the news of a college senior who committed suicide ... We could be passed as friends, a little more than acquaintances definitely.. The little moments I remember of having spent together are full of the most silly PJs and lots and lots of carefree laughter...
The smiling face refuses to fade, the happy tone... O it's so shocking...

Why??? What sort of moment it would be when a lively youth is so depressed to shed away the urge of giving in to the utter ecstacy of life? I only hope and request that if anyone comes to such a desperate point of misfortune, simply hang on... Somewhere there, beyond your knowledge, would definitely be someone who thinks of you and would be more than willing to listen out... Just hang on...

Here's a number in Ahmedabad, a suicide helpline service which simply talks to people on the verge of commiting suicide...
SAATH- 079 26305544

I wrote an article in Education Times, Ahmedabad when the high rates of suicides after (or before the board exams) shocked and saddened me greatly. I reproduce the same below....

Desperate Measures

You do not get a life to give it up…


After having done with the board exams, when all students are enjoying their summer vacation, a few individuals who gave up too easily to the mounting exam pressure, now linger as a distant, painful memory. With the rate of suicides committed by young students rising to alarming levels in the city, it’s time to deal with this sudden social upheaval urgently. The hype created by the competition crazy and mark maniac exam system may shake the students, however, they should understand that no ‘reason’ cannot be a reason enough to give up on life.


Disturbed by the alarming rates of suicide cases in the city, Mrs. Anju Sheth established SAATH in 1998. SAATH is an NGO, which provides support and counsel to people with suicidal thoughts. Anju Sheth opines that majority of suicides by the youth are a result of impulsive behavior triggered by loneliness, lack of support or the complete loss of hope. Hence, it’s extremely important to patiently listen to whatever your child, friend or student, without being judgmental. SAATH functions by ‘Listening Therapy’ wherein trained volunteers lend a patient ear to the caller. Many a times, the conversation is active on the callers’ side and passive on the listener’s side. Sometimes, if a person with depressing/suicidal thoughts simply gets to vent off the pent up feelings, he might get a reason enough to think on positive lines and give up suicidal thoughts.


Petrified by the fear of consequences following a failure and lack of awareness, students fail to see many different career choices available, many students and parents give up too easily and fall prey to dejection, opines Nimrat Singh, a career counselor.

Dr. Khushnuma Banaji, a professor of Psychology in St. Xavier’s College opines that there’s no knowing when the threshold levels of stress may be crossed. Many a times, very good students find it difficult to accept that they are unable to cope up. They live in state of turmoil, and fake up normal behavior to live up to the fa├žade of being a bright student. Her colleague, Prof. Ami Mehra informs that some tell tale signs like the lack of eye contact while talking, the unwillingness to carry on discussions, sudden irritation, restlessness or a slouching body posture, if noticed, should not be ignored.

Friends, who spend a lot of time with the concerned person, can easily detect such signs. Hence a huge responsibility lies on the peers to listen to their friend’s fears, provide a firm support and work towards sensible solutions. If dealt understandingly by peers, they can also be convinced to share their feelings with parents as well as to see a professional counselor.

It is unfortunate that depression, which is perhaps as normal an illness as common cold is wrongly perceived as a taboo and dealt with in a clandestine manner in the society. Many a times, family members try to sort such situations by themselves without seeking the help of counselors or psychiatrists.

Mrs. Anju Sheth (SAATH) opines that sometimes, medical assistance becomes necessary. There is a need of increasing the awareness that to seek the help of a counselor is only another way of taking care of yourself, which no one has a right to look down upon.


Rita Shah*, who gave her 12th Arts exam this year misses her close friend who committed suicide a few months back. All she can say about her friend’s drastic decision is that there was no reason for her to escape away like this…

Life is beautiful and sooner or later people agree on this fact.


* Name changed

In case someone shows suicidal tendancies

DO NOT
Negate the feelings expressed
Mock/ridicule whatever is said
Avoid stereotype assurances
Emphasize on the shortcomings
Attach excessive importance to passing/good marks


DO
Listen patiently
Encourage positive thoughts
Encourage meditation
Indulge in recreational activities, hobbies
Sign in a different short-term classes- language, public speaking, etc.
Be vocal about your feelings
Generate alternate career options
Get medical assistance/counseling if required

SAATH-079 26305544


- Gauri V. Gharpure

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I am tired of Radio Mirchi... Vividh Bharati rules!!!

It was sometime during my jewellery making spells that I started getting majorly irritated of Radio Mirchi... The RJs are always hyper active, hyper excited, hyper happy, hyper artificial... Perhaps they are groomed to appear 'bubbly', 'youthful' and 'fresh' 24 7, but they have been grossly overdoing their acts of late...

It was also during the same spell of gritting my teeth everytime an RJ went overboard in his/her hyper spells, that I started tuning in to Vividh Bharati. Vividh Bharati is accused of being stagnant, of being operating by the same rulebook that it was initiated with: more weightage to classical music, followed by old hindi film songs.

Vividh Bharati, I discovered is quite efficiently living up to the 'image'. And due to this very image, it will definitely stand out with its own loyal and huge fan following in future. More predictably, almost all media are populated by the hyper active communication style which has become fashionable today and so will be the radio. But sooner or later, people will grow tired of the induced excitement and constant chatter, of the forced vivaciousness and high pitched action based information. They will want something sober, something more balanced.

The best thing about the simplicity of Vividh Bharati is that you can indeed keep the radio as a 'background' compnanion and proceed about your chores without distraction. The music is soft, the presentators calm and composed. The melody as well the the presentation does not interefere with your work. The 'rjs' here dont order you about in the shrill screams and hyper urgings to go see the latest movie, and dont play some horrible, far fectched jingles idolising anyone from filmstars to sportsmen. Talking about idolising, I was pissed off beyond the levels of my tolerance on hearing a jingle sounding like a garba aarti, which sang praise of Indian cricketor Sreesanth after his performance in a match against South Africa... Outright ridiculous!...

Vividh Bharati offers its listeners a well planned schedule. The variety of the contents took me by a pleasant surprise. The simplicity of presentation was something I was to eager to welcome. I remember listening to A K Hangal's radio interview one quiet night about a month back. I shall be indebted to some anonymous team at the radio station who put the programme together to bring to us A K Hangal's old shaky voice, the nostalgia of past evident from the highs and lows of his talks, the emotions and the pieces of history saved for ever thanks to an excellent interview on the radio waves.

Sometime in the morning the presentators (Mahindra and Mamta Singh)were reading letters sent by Vividh Bharati listeners from far away corners of the country. One listener said of taking help from someone to write the letter and walking a distance of twelve kilometers just to post it. Her indigience when she complained that her letters were not read up was justified. I listened to old Hindi film songs coupled with information about the composers, the lyricists, programmes giving information about some famous music directors, lyricists, film makers. A slot for instrumental music in the afternoon, a programme for youth, small plays... Vividh Bharati...O! I am fascinated...