The Death Wish

A few months ago, in July this year, an elderly lady killed herself by jumping off the balcony in the condominium where I live. Her death haunted me for days and I decided to write something about it. The following piece was my original FB post which I have reproduced here.

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The chalk outline has been washed away, the orange safety cones removed and the greyish black concrete looks as though it has just been laid. There is no trace of her ever having lain there on the ground, cold and lifeless, eyes unseeing.

I have been sneaking out to the verandah every now and then, the entire morning, in between my writing spells to look down at the ground. Trying to imagine how she must have felt in the moment before she plunged down, ten floors, to her death. One moment of hopelessless, futility, unloved by the ones she cared for the most in the world. That’s all it took.

I hope it was all over for her in the flash of an eye. I hope she didn’t suffer or writhe in pain while we carried on with our lives within the comfort of our homes unaware of the tragedy that was playing out a short distance away. Our self-contained boxes.

I must have crossed paths with her as I went about my daily business in the condo. If I had known who she was or the anguish she was feeling, would I have been able to do anything about it? I wonder.

If only I had known.

I’m not a psychic like Tara, the protagonist of my novella, The Ghosts of Gurugram. Sometimes I wish I was.

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