Saturday Story 1: The News
She saw the Whatsapp message at 4 pm. By then it had already been an hour, since the news was flashed across all screens. Nandita felt her already fragile heart sink a little lower…No… not today… not on the day which she dreaded every year. God had already given her a very heavy bag of regrets and unanswered questions.
“Sushant Singh Rajput…. committed suicide… the promising young actor was just 34.”
As she scrolled through the messages on twitter expressing shock, anguish and disbelief, Nandita only felt numb. But the logical part of her brain – the psychologist – was analysing the situation. Why were so many people affected by the death of a person they did not personally know? Because he was living their dream.
Sab kuch to tha uske paas. Fame, money and good looks. And yet, he did not find life worth living? To phir what hope is there for the rest of us? Even though she was a trained psychologist, with 15 years of experience, that question had creeped into Nandita’s mind. The day ‘Tara’ (name protected for privacy) had arrived – unannounced – into her life.
“I.. can’t… go on,” said the doe-eyed beauty, heartthrob of millions, sitting in Nandita’s modest clinic. The actress had walked in, hidden behind extra-large large Christian Dior dark glasses. The eyes behind the armour told their own story. Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts… she was just 28, and already feeling ‘over the hill’. Unworthy, unloved, unwanted.
Nandita was surprised to have such a high-profile client. But the actress had her reasons. What would happen to her career, if the news leaked out? People would call her unstable, high strung, or maybe even a basket case. So she’d asked her childhood friend for a reference to a ‘good psychologist’ but far-removed from tinsel town.
“Depression is an illness, like cancer or diabetes,” Nandita said to her, gently. “It can be treated.”
Over the next few weeks, and months, the client made progress. Slow progress. Nandita knew it took time to build a rapport, establish trust. There was no hurry. She referred Tara to a psychiatrist who could prescribe medication, and that played its role. One day – around 5 months into treatment – the floodgates opened. Tara released her long-held trauma.
She had been sexually abused as a child. By her own uncle. The abuse went on for years – she was too young to understand what was happening. When she did tell her mother, nothing changed.
“No one believed me….” sobbed Tara, rocking her body back and forth, as she hugged herself.
It took many more sessions of sharing, listening and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, to make Tara whole again. But that day was a turning point. 13 months after she first walked into Nandita’s clinic, the eyes did not need any dark glasses. For they sparkled with zest, and life. On her last visit, Tara brought a stainless steel dabba with some puranpolis.
“Please have some… maine banaya hai,” said Tara, shyly. Nandita accepted the offering, for, wrapped in that delicious morsel was gratitude. A silent thank you, for a ‘job well done’.
The job was not to prevent a client from dying, but inspire her to live. To not get lost in the labels given by the world, and its false expectations.
For behind the fame, success and money, is just another soul. In need of love, and acceptance.
Nandita pulled the chocolate cake out of the oven, and added a single candle. It was her annual ritual, on the 14th of June.
“To my darling sister Neelu, who would have turned 41 today.”
A life cut short, when the promising medical student jumped off her hostel terrace, 21 years ago. There were no cries for help, only a final act of despair.
“I could not save you, Neelu,” whispered Nandita, as she blew out the candle. “But you gave me purpose in life.”
I am here, I am listening, I can help you… so reach out. You are never alone.
Coming soon: Read new stories every weekend, by subscription. Watch this space!
30 thoughts on “Saturday Story 1: The News”
Wow, just great. Love u dear.
Very touching story. Highly relevant today. Thanks for writing it!
Thank you Bala. It’s amazing how majority of my readers – many of whom are family and friends – cannot spare 2 seconds to rate the story, or 30 seconds to leave a response to it. This just proves the point of my story! We don’t want to appreciate the other… but crave for that appreciation. No way this is going to end well!
Nicely crafted story
This story is very touching and relevant in today’s times.
Very topical Rashmi. Fame, wealth and beauty do not make a happy life, but all of us measure ourselves by them nevertheless! Felt very sorry to read about Sushant Singh’s suicide. What a waste of potential…
Eagerly awaiting the next story
Yes… his death has affected all of us. made us question outer success!
“The job was not to prevent a client from dying, but inspire her to live.”
Nice story Rashmi. Being student of behavior science and one who faced depression. I very well understand how difficult it is to just face the idea and come out of this.
Thanks for the story, that may open someone somewhere to share..
Happy that you could relate to the story, Santosh 🙂
Had goose bumps… so well written… so real!!
Finding purpose and living it even from a tragedy. Such a nice story Rashmi Mam, loved it.
Thank you Kawaljeet. Often, the only way to deal with a tragedy is to find some higher purpose. Though the pain remains but life at least acquires some meaning.
It’s a real treat to read your stories. Short, simple and sensitive.
A touching story told with sympathy and understanding.
Nice, sensitive and impactful as usual.
In a matter of days you are into another series! Wow! Your creative flow is cascading. Breezy style, straight narrative and a twist in the tail – worked well for this story too. You raised the bar in the last one-story-a-day gasping marathon. Maybe, in this series, breathe in a bit more oxygen; a little deeper exploration into the characters, depth and complexity chould be expected. Sorry for being lalchi.
Such a touching story. Made me realize how little we know about the trials and tribulations of others. Inspiring to see them emerge from these challenges.
?Story not of your level of inspiration.Story just with the flow of time..???
I am eagerly waiting for inspirational story like always you write.
The theme of the story is good . But I think it didn’t keep the reader totally engaged engrossed in the story.
Relevant story and resonates very well!
Love this story…short simple poignant heartfelt. Thank you!
You are truly amazing, Rashmi. How were you able to churn out very good stories every day for a month . I was barely able to keep pace reading them!
This new story is touching and very topical, very thought provoking. I always like to listen to Inside the author’s mind. At times, that by itself is a story.
Waiting for the next, Rashmi
A very clear message from the story. Everyone needs to think back and reflect upon before taking such an extreme step. Mental help is very crucial along with physical health. Such stories based on real events are reflection of society. We need to have more stories like this.
The death of sushant singh did touch a lot of hearts! You have hit the nail on the head! He seemed to have everything that we yearn for. I am sure that a lot of people felt that if he felt desperate enough to take his life, what keeps all of us going? Excellent story, especially in our country, where mental illness of any kind earns the name of ‘paagalpan’.
Very touching! Loved it … Thank you 🙂
it’s a fantastic read!! A non-liner storyline with the threads tied up so well at the end!!
Its a life-stage achieved if you can inspire somebody – at least one – to take first step towards the rightness in life. You, your stories do that all the time!! Thank you!!
A la O Henry style! Loved the twist – Narrator’s sister taking away her life!
Depression the dreaded killer…we face sadness at some point in our lives but when it becomes ongoing the full fledged depression is too difficult to deal with on your own
Heart touching story
We never know what miracle and tragedy we can cause in other’s lives
Heart touching..bravo rashmi mam