Today is the last day of my life. By the end of today, I will just be just a memory. A mere memory. A moment of sadness perhaps for wife and my kid . . . yes, but, largely unnoticed by the world. And a mere record in the government books. Today, I will die. I will be hung to death. For a heinous crime. A crime that I had not committed. A crime committed by the millions of Gods, and the millions of Government officials.
People will brand it to be a suicide, but, I will stick to my earlier definition. A sentenced death.
The final moments of my life were surprisingly free of anxiety. I went around tilling the parched earth looking for some sign of vegetation, but, I was disappointed. Yet again. That has been my story for the past one year.
The year that had promised me so much.
The year that began with the birth of my first child. My daughter, Manjula Devi. She was my goddess. Her laugh, her smile . . . kept me alive all through the year. She was like the water on parched earth. The reason for my existence.
My wife . . . words cannot explain my love for her. She is my rock. My pillar of strength. Living in a broken-down hut, she had to cook, wash clothes and bath in the same place. We had no bed, the parched earth was our bed. She had just one saree. Nothing else. She had made tiny dresses for Manju out of the other saree she had.
We lived in utter poverty. We had no food to eat. We lived on scraps of food that I found littered around marriage halls, and political gatherings. We ate yellow leaves from the trees that had died. We had no water to drink. Our throats were constantly parched. So much to a point where I drink my own urine. A yellow elixir of life, enough to sustain my life for another day. We were starved. Starved beyond existence.
I was a failure. A mere waste of space. I had a lot of hope at the beginning of the year, but, like water, it too dried up as the year scorched by.
The government had promised us a lot. A motor pump. A plot of land. 100 days of assured employment. Interest free loans. Free electricity.
But, none of it came. Nature became our electricity source. The breeze was our fan. The sun was our heater. The moon was our tubelight.
The rain, however, never came.
The plants had dried up and turned yellow. The earth had cracked into a million pieces. The trees wilted, the animals starved, and the crops failed. But, there was no hope in sight. Neither the Gods, nor the Government helped. Both were blind to my plight.
I suffered silently. Every day, a tiny bit of my life was lost. Everyday, I died. A slow, painful death.
“Pachamuthu . . . how are your crops this year?” my friend asked me one day.
“Not good Krishna . . .not good at all. I have been struggling to make ends meet. I can’t go on any longer. There is nothing more I can do. My wife and my kid would be expecting me to bring some money home. How will I face them with empty hands again? I feel ashamed of myself. To be living this life.”
“Don’t worry Pacha . . . God will help you. Next month, the astrologers have predicted that rains would come.”
“They have been saying this for the past 2 years Krishna. And, I have been waiting and hoping ever since . . .”
“By the way, do you know our old friend . . . Kasi? He committed suicide.”
“What? How come?”
“Some family issue I think. His crops had failed. And, he took the extreme step.”
“Oh . . .but, he had a family right? A small kid also. What about them?”
“The government paid 2 lakhs to their family. So, they are taking it well. It seems Kasi used to anyways spend his money on drinking. . .”
“Yes . . . 2 lakhs. The government cannot give us anything they promised. But, this . . . they pay. Idiots.”, he said. “And . . .so, like I said . . . am getting a new tractor tomorrow. . . “
I wasn’t listening. My mind wandered. I thought of my parched piece of land, the dying crop, and the starving animals. I thought of the huge tree in the middle of my land, its branches could hold the weight of a man easily. I thought of the rope around the cow’s neck, and mentally made a note to myself. I thought of my wife, and my little baby.I thought of 2 lakhs. And, I smiled.
I held the noose around my neck. I hoped my wife and my kid would forgive me. Thoughts flashed past my mind. My wife’s beautiful face, glowing in the moonlight. My baby’s beautiful smile. I felt tears streaming down my face. I wanted to live. Live on for them. I loved them so much. And, then thoughts of the dying crop, the empty vessels at home, the poverty, the starvation, the yellow urine . . . came flooding back again. We needed the 2 lakhs. My family needed the 2 lakhs.
That was it. I had made my decision. I loved my family beyond my life. Beyond my life . . .
I tightened the noose. And . . . I let go.
This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club’s CBC VIBGYOR BLOG TAG. The color theme for the post was Yellow.
‘Yellow ribbon campaign’ was founded to prevent suicides.
If we have food to eat everyday, we must thank a farmer. Toiling in the fields. In the hot sun. With little food or water. For us.
A farmer starves, so we can all stuff ourselves with food.
Farmer suicides are a serious cause for concern in India. “Going by the official data, on average nearly 16,000 farmers committed suicide every year over the last decade or so. Every seventh suicide in the country was a farm suicide.” As always, it is an issue that has been silenced by the Government.