‘I had to save myself’

I told myself the pain would go away because my mind was in more agony than my body.

Published: 12th January 2022 06:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2022 06:33 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The cuts were not deep. I wanted to kill myself but not enough to die. I couldn’t understand this complex misery. But there were two cuts on my left wrist and they were throbbing in pain. I went and lay down next to Suneet. I told myself the pain would go away because my mind was in more agony than my body.

It didn’t. I needed medical aid. ‘I cut my wrist,’ I said softly to Suneet. ‘Can you get some Dettol?’ He woke up with a start and blinked in confusion. He didn’t comprehend what I was saying till he saw my wrists. ‘Oh my god! What have you done?’

‘It’s nothing. It was very stupid.’ He frowned. ‘Can you get gauze and Dettol? And something sweet for me to drink? I can’t stand up. I feel like I’m going to faint.’

Suneet stood up, and the words that came out of his mouth were, ‘What the f***, Maneka! You know we don’t have insurance!’

I stood in the middle of an ice-cold highway, facing an ice-cold storm, and this man was throwing an ice-cold bucket of water on me.

There was no panic in his eyes. There was no empathy. He didn’t hug me. He didn’t console me. He didn’t shout at me for being foolish. He didn’t even get what I asked for.

My husband really didn’t care whether I lived or died. ‘I’m going to call my parents and you call yours. Let’s tell them what you’ve done,’ he said instead.

What the f*** was wrong with this man? ‘Please. Don’t. Tell. Anyone.’ I said empathically. ‘Don’t. You. Dare.’ But Suneet ran to the bedroom and within seconds his parents came out. F***! 

Now I really wished that I’d killed myself. His father sat down beside me on the futon. His mother stood next to him. I cringed. This was the weakest moment of my life. These were the last people I wanted to see. If, at that point, anyone had asked me if I recommended falling in love, I would’ve told them ‘Run!’ Because here I was, with my chest cut open, my heart cut open, allowing people to get in and break me so wide open that nothing inside me could live again. All because I’d let myself love. 

‘Why did you call us for this nonsense, Suneet?’ I heard his mother say. ‘What drama is this? Cutting her wrists? If she really wanted to kill herself, she would’ve done it properly!’ The anchor pulling me down into the deep sea now sank me completely. 

‘She’s doing this so I look bad . . . our family looks bad. Don’t go by her innocent face. She’ll do anything to get everyone to take her side. She’s doing all this for attention, and you are giving it to her.’ ‘Maa, please!’ Suneet finally said. 

But it was —   again —too little too late. It dawned on me that Suneet had called his parents here for entertainment, as if I was a circus performer, and not to help. How deep is the absence of love?

I got up, slowly. I would not let myself fall further than I had with these awful people. I had to save myself. None of them would. I hobbled to the kitchen, holding the wall, and drank a few sips of Coke so I wouldn’t collapse. Feeling slightly better, I went into the bathroom and began to put Dettol on my cuts. It singed. 

Suneet came up to me and said, ‘I’ve called your mother. She’s on the phone.’ What do you do when you ask for the cool of the moon but get burnt by the scorching sun? I took the phone and shut the bathroom door. I heard my mother’s voice. She was in a panic.

‘What’s going on, beta? Are you okay?’ Are you okay . . . that’s all I needed to hear. I wiped my tears. I cleared my throat. I forced myself to say something.

(Excerpted from Boys Don’t Cry by Meghna Pant, with permission from Penguin Random House)


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