‘Hanging myself, now’. Poppat Lal’s Facebook addition was at an extreme level as he updated his status one last time before taking the plunge into the jaws of death. Life had not been fair to Poppat.
Three years back, he had managed to get admission in one of the best engineering colleges in Jaipur, and the future looked bright. But the ongoing curriculum of Electrical branch seemed frightening as the days went by. He realized from the third semester itself that it’s going to be quite an uphill task. No matter how hard he tried, failure kept welcoming him. He kept on flunking in few exams every semester. In one of the laboratory exams, his nervousness had almost electrocuted him. Backlogs kept on increasing until one day, the college authorities decided it was time for the stern action.
Poppat was informed that his parents, residing in Bikaner, would be required to meet the college Dean personally, and they would be apprised of their son’s abysmal performance. That night he had an unusual dream. ‘There was a vast open field. 99 students were sitting on horses and only 1 on a donkey. Parents of these hundred students from the Electrical engineering class were informed beforehand that there was only 1 failure in the class, and they could come and identify that ‘special’ student, as he would be the one shamefully sitting on the donkey.’ He woke up startled in the middle of the night with his face smeared in sweat. It felt now as though he was living with a time bomb, waiting to explode. And one fine day, he bunked his classes and decided to take the ultimate step.
So, there he was, all ready with the Suicide apparatus- ceiling fan, a rope that could handle 65 Kgs, a chair that would support life as long as Poppat wished to, and last but not the least, a very depressed soul. He remembered the character of Raju Rastogi from ‘3 Idiots’ and pondered, ‘It’s good that I am not jumping from the top of a building. That way, there are chances that someone might provide immediate help. With this plan, no one shall bother until the game is over.’
It was 2 minutes since he last updated his status. He was warming up for the suicide action. But, somehow, he had an urge to check his last FB notifications. Knocking on the doors of death, it felt good to see the concern of so many friends. But reality was harshly different.
23 intelligent friends had liked his FB status. ‘Uff… do these folks even read before they hit the like button?. And then followed the comments. ‘Dude, seriously?’, ‘Ladki ka chakkar? J’, ‘All the best man. Just do it!,’ ’Make sure the rope is strong enoughJ’ . He could not read further. Perhaps, with friends like these, ending his life was a wise decision. He was never put off by FB than this very moment.
With renewed determination, he got ready to kick the chair and experience the pain of death. And boom… another notification beep. He cursed himself for not switching off his phone. Technology was not even allowing him to die in peace. This time it was a chat head from FB messenger with the name Tanya Seth.
“What the hell is wrong with you? You idiot!! If u r reading this message, just stop this nonsense and be safe.”
With ceiling fan still reflecting death on his face, Poppat messaged-“Who is this? Sorry, I did not recognize you. ”
Tanya- “Poppat, it’s been a long time. We were together in class sixth at St. Johns, Bikaner. I had to leave the city subsequently because of my dad’s transfer. I was not one of the happening girls, so you might not remember me. That’s not important now. I am really concerned about you. Call me at this number.”
But her number did not appear for a while. The mobile network played havoc with Poppat’s emotions just at the right time. He could think of nothing else but to cry for God’s help.
‘O Krishna!’, Poppat called out to the ceiling fan above him, as though the popular Hindu god, famous for 16,100 girlfriends, was hiding somewhere behind the fan listening to his miseries. ‘In spite of my persistent efforts, lady luck has always managed to escape me. My entire life has been like an arid land. And just at the time when I have decided to depart this world, some greenery, in the form of this lovely girl turns up, full of sorrow knowing that I am dying.
You can push me through the doors of hell for committing this act of cowardice, but please let me speak to her once. I could end up dying with a smile on my face. Consider it as my last wish’.
Voila! 3G network had sprung back to action.
‘990###8112, call me’
Thanking Lord Krishna, he dialed Tanya’s number. She picked immediately, and gave him a shot of verbal abuses. Then, taking a deep breath, she continued, ‘You coward. Is this a way to deal with your problems? Don’t you have a heart to care for your parents? All thanks to Sudeep, our common FB friend, who had liked your status, that I got to know about this.’
Poppat- ‘You don’t know what I have been going through. There is nothing in my life to look forward to. I cannot see the dreams of my parents shattered because of me. By the way, thanks for your concern. You are the only one who has crossed the virtual world to make a real connect.’
Tanya- ‘Listen Poppat. I used to like you during our school days. But my friends used to tease me, mocking your name. ‘Poppat Lal’, I mean who has name like that.’ So, I just avoided talking to you.
He once again cursed his father for naming him ‘Poppat’. In spite of his repeated requests to change the name, his father was adamant. The holy name was given by the family’s spiritual guru, Swami Champak Maharaj.
Tanya-‘Poppat, forget that, those were stupid days. You know what… I had a crush on you. Are you still single?’
All of a sudden, there was a 1000 watt smile on his face. He was so happy, that he kicked his life support, the chair and dropped his mobile. Ironically, this was what he had been wanting to do five minutes back. ‘Bachao, bachao….help me’, Poppat shouted with whatever energy was left in him, as the rope started tightening against his neck. Poor Tanya, on the other end of the phone, had no clue what made Poppat shout for help on being asked if he was still single. ‘Still throwing attitude’, she thought.
But he was in for some luck, as Sandeep, one of the students in the next room of the hostel floor, heard him. With the help of a couple of guys, he broke open the door. ‘You idiot, couldn’t you say that you were ‘Really’ serious when you updated your status. I would have immediately came and not let this happen.’ With their help, Poppat came down gasping for breath.
Regaining his composure, he picked up his mobile and sprang out of his room. He had to clear the air of misunderstanding with his new found precious ‘Real’ friend, or probably, future girlfriend.
They say, ‘You find love in the most unexpected places’. Those places could be suicide points as well.