It was a typical October morning – cold and wet from the overnight rain. It felt colder than usual though. The fact that I was sitting by the river side didn’t help much. The ground was damp too, there was not a single dry leaf to be seen any where. I was able to find a long plastic sheet; and it made a good makeshift cushion. The area was covered with thick bushes on all sides, save for the small pseudo-circular patch of ground where I was sitting. I had been sitting there for almost an hour – doing nothing but staring at the flowing river.
The majestic river, bloated by the torrential rains, was flowing with all its might just yards from where I was sitting. The flow on the surface seemed ominously calm. But I knew what lay beneath. I could feel the ground tremble as the undercurrents flowed with a feral lust. I could imagine the walls of the bank being ripped away mercilessly. The whole scene looked surreal to me. The mighty river, the lush greenery around me, the strong bridge connecting the two banks. The bridge stood like a big fortress; a symbol of human triumph over the force of the nature below. The sun was yet to come out. The dark blue hue and the heavy mist made everything look darker; more sinister.
As my mind was being held in a trance by the flowing water, my hands felt my pockets involuntarily. Yes, it was still there – the bottle of barbiturate I had obtained. I’ll need those, soon. The pointlessness of my own life had hit me hard. I had been jobless for over half an year. The odd jobs that I did were never enough to make the ends meet for my family. I was not bothered about myself. But I couldn’t bear the brunt of seeing my mother and my sisters suffer. My mind couldn’t take it any more. I knew there were good souls in this world. They would take care of my family after I was gone. But while I was there, they will not. Hence I had made up my mind to leave my family, to let them live their life. After all, they wouldn’t need me; the one who couldn’t provide for them. The pills will help me through, I thought. Just let me savour this majestic river for some more time.
It was the wee hours of the morning, and there was no living soul in sight anywhere. A sudden movement on the bridge caught my attention. I was a bit surprised since I had not expected any one to be around there at that time. Probably some miscreant who came to throw off some garbage. Life really is unfair. I had never spoilt nature; yet here I was, to end the very gift of nature. I shifted my glance back to the river. A few seconds later, I heard the inevitable splash. I felt disgusted and avoided looking in that direction. But something didn’t feel right. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some movements at that side of the river. I turned my head and strained my eyes to see what was happening. Through the mist I could vaguely make out the flailing limbs of a person. Some one was drowning!
I didn’t have any second thoughts as I plunged headlong in to the river. The current was indeed strong. The person had fallen over right next to one of the piers of the bridge. I could use that to my advantage, I thought, as I fought against the heavy current and swam towards the hopelessly flailing arms. I tried to keep to the surface as much as possible. Finally, after strenuous efforts, I reached near the person. It was a lady. She had miraculously landed in the part of the river with less underflow. I grabbed her by her hair and pulled her on to the pier. Engrossed in my efforts and exhausted by it, I had not noticed that the sun had come up, and that a few people had seen this debacle. And indeed, a few were headed in our direction in a boat.
A few hours later, we were sitting in the hospital. We – myself and the lady’s mother. The lady was lying on the bed, and the doctor was examining her. The mother was all in tears and was explaining how some guy had cheated her daughter in the name of love. How a once ebullient young lady had become sullen and depressed. Disgusted by life, she had decided it was not worth living. I found myself looking away as she was explaining this.
Once she finished, the doctor started giving his advices. About the importance of family; and the role it plays in an individual’s life. He talked about mutual support, about openness, and creating the feeling of belonging. Though his words were directed at the lady, they felt like shards of glass in my mind. After the distraught mother thanked me profusely for saving her child, I somehow took my leave from them. I trudged my way back across the hospital corridor. As I came out of the front door the bright rays of the sun greeted me. I took out the bottle of pills and threw it in to the canister there. I wouldn’t be needing it anymore. I had crossed the bridge. I had triumphed over my insecurities. I need to reach home now. My family would be waiting for me.
This is a work of fiction, and was written for Write Tribe as part of the World Suicide Prevention Day awareness program. Every life is worth saving. Our words and our deeds make a difference. Family and friends are there for a reason. Remember, there is no rewind in real life.
[Image courtesy: Original image of the bridge courtesy of swatcop]