An online American magazine, International Policy Digest, in its November 2019 post, labeled India as the ‘Suicide Capital of Asia’. This was in response to a WHO report which cited that India had the highest suicide rate in the South-East Asian region in 2016.

Alarming as it is, this report indicates a dismal state of mental stress and despair around us. Be it the suicide of Café Coffee Day founder, V G Siddhartha or the recent suicide of the television actor, Kushal Punjabi, these increasing incidents point to an imminent underlying issue, which needs immediate attention and redressal.

The journey of man’s life begins on a high note but soon, he finds himself amidst adversities that test his hope quotient. As these tribulations and challenges intensify, man tends to lose his positive frame of mind, and could get entangled in a downward spiral of misery. In some extreme cases, this may lead to suicide. Another WHO report published in 2018 confirms that ‘globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression’.

The question to ask is: how can one remain positive amidst the ordeals of life and cope with the resulting stress? The answer is simple. We need to learn to decondition our mind and to view life as an experiential opportunity where both success and failure are transient means to enhance our development potential.

This process of learning does not mean that man will be able to avail all the opportunities to the fullest. He may avail some and forego others. A wise man is one who can learn to live in what is possible instead of living in the stress of what is not possible.

Any person who wants to put an end to his life, does so assuming that his life is worthless. His myopic vision does not allow him to see opportunities. In fact, there have been cases where saved suicide victims ended up becoming extraordinary achievers. There was one such example in my village neighbourhood where a person consumed poison and tried to kill himself because he was under great financial burden.

Fortunately, the neighbours got to know and medical aid arrived just in time and saved him. The shock of almost losing his life transformed him into a completely different person.

He strove with all his might and developed a refreshing enthusiasm for life. He later went on to establish a successful business enterprise.

The lesson is that if in the first part of life man meets with failure, he must not lose hope. Rather, he should look at this as experience. Later, as opportunities open up, these very experiences will help man realise his potential. The only precondition being that he should remain positive. One who lives with the remorse of lost opportunities would miss availing new prospects. It’s a vicious cycle.

In the nine decades of my life, I have come across various moments of despair and crisis. The one thing that has held me afloat is the belief that life is precious; it is not to be squandered away. Those who end their lives leave a grave lesson for the ones who are left behind.

In the New Year, it is time to make a fresh start and look at life as the greatest opportunity offered to us. Let us avail it to the fullest and make it count!