Friday, January 25, 2008

On suicide, Wandhama and, perhaps, everything else in life

This evening, a middle-aged man with receding hairline jumped from the top floor of my office building and died on the floor, next to a promotional board of Johnie Walker which reads: Keep walking. His one shoe lay near his motionless body.

People watched him from a distance. By the time someone called the police, a pool of blood was created beneath his face. The man was wearing a jacket and a pair of blue jeans. While I sat in my office, discussing literature with a friend, the man must have decided to take the final plunge.

I don’t know who this man is. Probably he was not an employee of any of the offices in the building. Probably he was an outsider who just climbed the fifth floor to end his life. Probably he was tired of life. Probably he loved it too much.

N was with me when this happened, and like me, he also rushed out after hearing the commotion. When we entered back into my room, we just sat there, perhaps avoiding each other’s gaze. I tried calling an ambulance service in the hope that the man might be actually alive. I could not connect. I switched off my computer.

As we left office, N and I, we passed by the man. The police was yet to arrive. The crowd of spectators had grown thick. N mumbled something – something about the inefficiency of police. I thought the man’s family, if he had any, still did not know. Probably his son would be playing cricket. His wife would be watching television, getting ready to cook their
dinner – probably his favourite dish. And the man is no more.

Driving back home, I tell two friends about it. One of them laughs. I reach home. I pour myself a stiff drink. I gulp it down. I open my laptop. I make another drink.

P has downloaded some new songs. As I browse through them, I realise that she surely doesn’t have the inclination to listen to at least three songs she has downloaded. Probably she has downloaded them for me. But she hasn’t been able to tell me that for twenty-seven days now.

The police must have arrived by now. They would have removed his body. How would they ascertain who he is? Probably he has a mobile phone. Or may be, they find his visiting cards in his wallet. May be, he has a driver’s license.

Ten years have passed today since a 16-year-old boy saw his father, mother, sister and his neighbours being killed in front of his eyes. It happened in Wandhama , in Kashmir valley. The boy’s family begged the killers to spare them but they had come with a clear task: annihilate the few Hindu families who had chosen not to leave their home and hearth. The 23 dead included four children. That boy was the lone survivor. Where is he now? The case has been closed, as a newspaper report tells me. But who will close the memory gates of that boy?

Did that man look at the Johnie Walker board as he entered into the building? If only he had – may be, he would have been walking towards his home right now.

There is a knock at my door. I am being called for dinner.

7 comments:

pramod said...

you are very sensitive...

Kakshi said...

I know how it feels to have witnessed a death and that too on the road! I had witnessed one similar incident..a government servant aged around 23yrs was hanging dead upside down,from an electricity pole, while performing some maintenance. His colleagues were trying to rescue him, the crowd silently watched, I wondered whether an ambulance was called?

Aamir said...

I was deeply touched by your article. It is a shame that there has been no headway in finding the murderers of Wandhama and many such instances. While our eleet Police is able to crack any case it is not known why there is such a dicriminative attitude towards cases involving minority communities. Our heads should fall in shame unless we are able to deliver justice to one and all, irrespective of their cast creed and community.

Beau Peep said...

The link on 'Wandhama' is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

You appear like the background tree on the blogger. I think you are that boy escaped from Wandhama at 16. We are all with you.

--Dhatri

Rahul Pandita said...

beau peep, thanks for pointing that out; it has been restored.

Dhatri, yes, you are right; in a way I am that boy.

Thank you, aamir, kakshi and pramod

Anonymous said...

I agree that to see death so closely can be disturbing but well, we see death closely everyday; death of a dream...death of a soul....death of a being....