Book Review: The Story of a Suicide by Sriram Ayer

The Story of a Suicide

Book: The Story of a Suicide

Author: Sriram Ayer

Publisher: Published on the author’s blog. The link to the story is here: The Story of a Suicide

Genre: Relationship Drama

In One Line: A web of different relationships connected through myriad emotions.

Characterisation: There are four important characters in this story – Hari, Mani, Sam and Priya – and the tale is about their relationships. The side characters like Alex and Aditya from the present and those from the past like Hari’s uncle and Mani’s father also play their parts. I especially found the past stories of these two boys, even if predictable, quite poignant. Of the four protagonists, Hari has been given the most ‘flesh and blood’. I would have liked to know more about Priya though.

The ending seemed hasty though. To make the final event happen, the author has left many loose threads untied. What does Mani do after he reaches the village? What happens to Sam and Aditya? What consequences do they face from Priya? What do Hari’s parents do after the incident? Does Hari’s sister blame the parents for the ‘final act’?

Language: It is an easy to read story and it retains the local flavours through the use of  words that one uses if he belongs to a certain part of India.

However, the usage of some words like ‘penis’, I felt appeared way too many times than was required. It is one thing to drive home a point and another thing to repeatedly use it without it contributing to the drama. Due to this, the language, at times borders on becoming too casual.

There are some lines in the story that I really liked. For instance this one: “If you will not be patient with me when I am at my lowest ebb, then perhaps our love for each other is not really worth it. Being there only during happy times, don’t you think that is rather selfish?”

Plot SettingNot much has been mentioned about the city but the flavour of it has been retained. For example the auto ride that Hari and Mani have. Given, that this is a ‘campus tale’, I wasn’t expecting much about the city, but I would have liked more on the campus. Imagery always helps. Some portions, that had it, however, did well. For example, the run that Sam and Priya had through marshy soil, the dramatics scene between ‘Draupadi and Ceaser’ and Priya in her room with the lizard on the wall.  

Book Cover Art: I don’t know if the initial drawing was the cover of the ‘book’ because this was more of a story on a website and not really a paperback or even a ebook. Also such sketches were there throughout the tale. The water colours, by itself, were nice and also matched what was being written about on that page. But it wasn’t needed. The theme of the story didn’t need so many! I would have preferred only one at the beginning, or maybe, at most, one at the beginning of each chapter ( that matched with the interesting chapter names). So many, however, tended to make the tale look juvenile as far as looks were concerned.  

How’s the Title: Too simple a title. It’s alright for an author to want to be direct when it comes to naming his story. But this one seemed too straightforward. Some mystery or thrill to it, or maybe even a sub title would have made it sound better. 

Is The Blurb Catchy:  I read the blurb here: Blurb. However, it was missing on the book link. A little disconcerting for a reader to start with a story right away without knowing anything of what it might be all about or even a little about the author.

The blurb, in itself, was however fine. It told as much as was needed and kept a lot of secrets that the book would open up.

Learning From The Story: The story has lots of trivia that’s thrown into it. While it might seem as a distraction that hampers the flow of the real tale, these are interesting to read nevertheless. For example, about ‘Trojan’ and ‘how bees have sex’.  

Areas Of Improvement: There were a few grammatical errors. This was one such:”Dad, you are a drama queen I tell you”. I don’t think the male gender can be called ‘drama queen’.

There were too many side tracks which were distracting. For example: The discussion about the serial, Trojan etc.

What Is ‘Said By Not Saying’: Here is my Take on SuicideI know what it feels like to be broken – we build a world around us with a handful of people who really matter. ‎When they back stab, misunderstand, get angry, move away from us, we feel that we have been let down and that we have let them down too. When the human heart can’t take this anymore then this is the time when we turn selfish and start to think only about ourselves. The thought in the mind is “let me leave and go away forever from where there is no return.”

Some strong hearts manage to get a grip over this vulnerable emotion with logic and practical thinking and start picking up the pieces again. But some can’t.

It’s true that suicide is never a solution but sometimes the mind and the soul is unable to think straight. If there is one person, at that very moment in time, who can talk to the ‘weak mind’ then this can be avoided. I strongly believe so because I have experienced it first hand.

The talk cannot be one of sympathy. Or of ‘I understand your situation’. It has to be hard talk, almost brutal so that the mind can be brought back to straight thinking with a hard slap. “You are so selfish and you think so much about yourself that you want to commit suicide because of a heartbreak but not think of what will happen to your family?” – this is an example. If one sentence doesn’t do it, there should be more. One after the other. A constant battering of the mind so that it will stop thinking of death out of sheer frustration.

Then comes the next step. Affection. A calming of the soul that all is not lost. That life is precious. That one bad situation doesn’t mean that all is lost. That things will come back on track. And the promise that he / she will be around handholding all the time.

And then the final step. “Don’t you ever try and pull such a stupid stunt again.” This followed by a hug that speaks. It says “I won’t ever let you go.”

But, if the suicidal mind is all alone during the crisis moment and if he has blocked out all means to contact him, then who can help? Even the Lord can’t.

Readers who might be reading this post, do remember that a suicide doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It is a slow build up of an emotional turmoil and the person wants to take the plunge when he finally cracks. So, if you have a friend or a relative who, you feel, has been behaving differently, do try and speak to him. Or find someone who he will open up to. Often, it is care, concern and a patient hearing that the suicidal mind needs.

 My Reaction When I Finally Closed The Book: smiley - hmm   

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