Reflections

Yesterday’s newspaper was filled with assessments of the political situation in Tamil Nadu, the heat wave and farmer’s protests. While perusing through all this, a small news item in one of the inner pages caught my eye:’10 year old girl commits suicide because of quarrel with friends’.

Some of you may already have come across this. I don’t know what were your thoughts after reading it, but for me, I was shocked. It seems the girl fought with friends, some foul language was involved, so adults warned her and she ended her life.

This affected me considerably, and that is why I am writing this now.

It is high time that we think about where the current young generation is headed. By concentrating on the material luxuries they can provide their kids with, have parents neglected the emotional well- being of their child? If they are this vulnerable, how will they cope in the future?

Generally, this younger generation has grown up being too sensitive. They can’t bear even small criticisms. Probably I am not the best person to talk about these issues because I also fall under the “too sensitive” category. I am now only slowly coming out of it. And I too cannot accept criticisms and get angry at clashing opinions, albeit only at home (strange, isn’t it?).

But I am not so ridiculously fragile in mind. I realize that what I am feeling is wrong. Though my temper gets the better of me sometimes, I instantly regret what I said. This post is meant to be my reflections on the issue, and I believe it will inspire me to change.

The girl was on the brink of adolescence. She may have had many talents and dreams for her future. She may have been the best student in her class. Her mother may have planned something special for her birthday. All this has gone to waste. Most worryingly, she took her life at the age when there is so much to learn and experience; when they are innumerable opportunities to grow.

This is not the first case of child suicide. There have been many others. On what basis do kids decide to end their lives? What do they know about life? In a moment of anger and panic, do they forget how much happiness surrounds them ? These are not questions normally taken up for discussion, but we can’t deceive ourselves for too long. We need to wake up to these new challenges.

Generally, childhood is supposed to be the time of life when you are carefree and can enjoy to the fullest. Then why do incidents like this happen? A possible cause could be the overload of information. Or maybe lack of parental support and time.

I would say media is a major culprit. From where else can children gain the notion that ending their life is a solution to all their problems? More specifically, we have to blame the responses to such media. Maybe there should be classes on ‘Discovering how to react to media” where children are taught to not take things they see in films too seriously.

Counselling in schools needs to become the norm, rather than being an additional bonus. Life skills and gender sensitivity classes need to teach what they are supposed to; they are not meant for being free periods or being taken by subject teachers to finish their portions.

More than being academically gifted, having emotional strength is important. The world is becoming increasingly competitive. The need of the hour is to help the younger generation grow into composed and confident individuals, who have the skills to contribute to the betterment of society. This is the lesson we need to learn from this unfortunate incident.

Aspiring to be an English Literature graduate, maybe I should be writing literary criticisms, but I observe I am at my best when writing about personal experiences. I am currently reading How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton, which is quite interesting. I have found out that this is the best course choice for me, though I am still unsure whether I have the ability to analyze texts.

But I have consoled myself by thinking of the fact that just now I have ventured into the world of literary theory; so it is too soon to reach a conclusion.