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If I May... An Alternative Proposal to Suicide

Updated on July 14, 2020

When one is ready to suicide, I believe they have eroded their fear of death, that is a virtue and a blessing beyond any normal human being. With such great power, what wonders can one create!

Crucifixion by Titian

Surprisingly, a song from a B-grade Telugu movie Genius gave me some valuable wisdom. The lyrics of the song went like this…

Chirigina notu chethullo rayi (Torn note, stone in hand)
Edhaina use avudhi ra
(Anything is useful)
Manasunte ee mattaina kaani
(If you have the heart, even the dirt)
Manakepudu help avudhi ra
(Will always help us)
Manishai wastega puttanantu
(‘What a waste this birth as a human is’)
Nuvvala feel ayipomakura
(Let that feeling not come to you)
Edho chese chavalantu
(But resolve to do something before you die)
Arey fix ayithe thappenti ra
(What is wrong to fix your mind with that thought?)
Endhira bhai endho suthavu attaga
(What is it brother, why are you looking like that)
Eyyara bhai eseyi evadaddu neekinka
(Just do it, brother, just take the step to do something, who else can be your obstacle when Death itself isn’t)

(Lyrics: TeluguLyrics2U; Song:

It is true. Our current situation isn’t really the best of times. We are locked up inside along with our thoughts(who aren’t always friendly) and away from our friends and loved ones. The economic situation isn’t seeming to get any better either and other problems just begin to throw themselves against us. Now while I want to acquaint you with another truth, the truth that you aren’t in this alone, I don’t really intend to motivate you or inspire you. What I want to do is let this song give you a reminder and maybe suggest a very feasible alternate option for those with suicidal thoughts and even those who have taken a decision to suicide. I do this with the hope that maybe, just maybe, you would change your mind and make suicide your second option, if not one of the lasts because I am sure among the number of ways we human beings can die, suicide would figure as one of them while a heroic death or a peaceful death in sleep would hold a place somewhere at the top if we could choose.

Now before I go on further, I want to let you know that I understand you. I know that rationality and reason have no place within the realms of suicide and its allied thoughts. I also acknowledge the fact that suicide is a choice between two horrible and scary things. I think the words of David Foster Wallace resonate strongly here when he says…

‘The so-called “psychotically depressed” person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s the terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.’

And while right now, at this moment, I may be one of those people on the sidewalk talking out to you; all I ask you is to listen to me, for once, the way Mike listened to Harvey Spectre when he said ‘What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head? You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty-six other thing. You always have a choice.’ Just like that if you are at the edge of a burning skyrise, with the terror of flames on one side and a leap of death on the other, they do not have to be your only two choices and this is where I disagree with David Foster Wallace and while there may not be a hundred and forty-six choices there can at least be seven or six or four.

This is exactly where the Telugu song that I mentioned earlier comes into the picture. When the song says ‘What’s wrong to fix your mind with the thought to do something good before you die’ and ‘Just take the step! Who or what can stop you when Death itself isn’t an obstacle’, it’s trying to tell you that why don’t you go through the greater terror of the flames when you feel death is inevitable, yes, it can be really scary and it is; but why don’t you put such power to some good use before your time ends. Maybe there are little kids in that same burning skyrise as yours and maybe with the limited time you have, you can shout to the people on the streets to hold a makeshift safety net so that you can throw these kids to safety while you put your life at risk and search for more that need saving in that burning building(because trust me there will be), who can stop you when Death itself isn’t an obstacle! Maybe there are fire extinguishers you can use to make your way while you attach the fire escape backpacks to the others and sen them down the windows or maybe there’s another building just beside yours to which you can direct others to jump to… But while you do all this good and save a number of lives, you might just stop and think and tell yourself ‘But wait if I can do all this why I can’t I just save myself?’ Well, yea, I guess you are right, I mean I think that’s a good thought too you know…

The Resurrection of Christ by Nicolas Bertin


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