What I choose to learn from Sushant Singh Rajput’s decision to put an end to his life… and many more like him.

Sushant Singh Rajput committing suicide and all the “drama” that’s followed, has made me ponder over a couple of things – but under a different light. About Sushant, I have seen him act in a couple of movies and yes I did like his performances. He could have had a bright future but nepotism pulled him down, so I hear. I read about his qualifications, his family background, his interests, his achievements and his social life. I also read about his mental health issues and I strongly believe that his battle with depression played a critical role in pushing him towards that drastic step he chose to take. Depression has that insane power to make one feel absolutely powerless. It could either amplify your struggles or absolutely mute down your world or do both at the same time. All one needs is a “trigger” that overpowers one’s emotions such that it makes one loose control over all matters related to the heart and the mind. It can be quite a battle to fight and yes, Sushant was probably exhausted from seeing his world through this depressive lens. The loss of control over his life had left him with no hope whatsoever. I heard him say in an interview that “Money and Success doesn’t guarantee Happiness.” For someone with such humbling thoughts and realistic expectations, he did achieve a lot of his goals and dreams. But then, something went terribly wrong and the only person who could clarify that for us, is now gone. Yes, he deserved better and I pray that he rests in peace. However, is this really the first time we are hearing about something like this happen? Not just limited to the entertainment industry, but the ugly reality is that he is not the first one to have succumbed to such professional pressures, under such mental health conditions. There are 2 aspects of this tragic incident that keep occupying my mind. A. Nepotism and B. Mental Health.

To me, nepotism is a practice similar to that of favouritism or preferential treatment. Let’s admit that we have all been at the receiving end of such practices, in different capacities and at different levels. We have all been preferred over and discriminated against in some way or the other, at some point in our lives. I don’t know what really goes on in Bollywood but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that this sort of politics and bullying happens in every industry, however big or small.

Speaking of Nepotism, to be honest, if I were in a powerful position, I would naturally be inclined to use my influence in favour of those who belong to “my inner circle”. And come on lets admit it, we all WANT to be in “that circle”. Fair enough. It’s only natural. But unfortunately, not all of us can make our way into this circle. That’s been the ugly reality, for a while now. Another question that pops into my mind is that if I, as a nepotist, were to push forward one of my clan members, and what if that preferred one didn’t have the talent or skill that it takes? Would influence be enough for that someone to succeed ? And if so, then for how long would that success be able to sustain? Something to think about. Conversely , what if I (as a nepotist again) were to deny someone of an opportunity solely on the basis of the fact that they don’t belong to “my clan”? Would that be fair? Well, in an ideal world, merit deserves credit especially in a society or an industry which prides itself in being a merit-based one. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, even in an idealist society governed by meritocracy. Either we are blinded by the loyalty or bias for those who belong to “our gang” or we are simply finding “politically correct” excuses to discriminate against those who don’t. So what happens to merit in such a real world? Sadly, a lot of the times, it gets LOST. And how do most of us deal with this kind of a situation? Even if the strongest of the souls decides and even succeeds to fight this out, it’s only human to feel dismissed and demotivated at some point through that struggle. This could further affect one’s confidence and faith, eventually leaving them with this clinging and recurring feeling of hopelessness. This is a matter of how we humans are built to survive conflicts and disappointments…Remember the concept of “Survival of the Fittest?” That much traditional “Fight or flight response”, which is relevant even today, in spite of all the progress we have made as a society and as a species.

Now, in this real world, is it important to address the nepotism or address the individual’s response? Some would say, nepotism… because that’s what is causing the response. Eliminate the cause, eliminate the effect. But to me, nepotism isn’t something new that just appeared from some random flash. The reality is that, the very society thats opposing to this practise, has been responsible for building it up in the first place. The society, as a majority, has put “those powerful people” (lets call them nepotists) in the position where they are. And we all would love to be at the benefitting end of this practice, won’t we? But when we are not, that’s when we start to blame the practise. Sour grapes, they would say! However, instead of targeting nepotism, wouldn’t it be better if we were to address an individual’s response to such deeply rooted practises? We need to be better prepared than ever, to live in a world where our talents and skills might not be able to solely take us to where we want to be or even deserve to be. Similarly, there are cases where even nepotism as a practise has failed miserably and the nepotist was only able to push forward his own kind up until a certain threshold. So what do these individuals do, when even preferential treatment has failed to accelerate them towards their goals. Are they prepared to deal with such a situation, emotionally? So, to me, it boils down to addressing the emotional turbulence, rather than the practise that’s causing it. After all, nepotism as a practise itself came about as a response to the emotional turbulence experienced by the nepotists, at some point in time. Nepotism then became a coping strategy for them to feel safe and secure. It’s only human.

Speaking of coping strategies, if we were able to handle our response to such practises, with an emotionally stable and a rational state of mind, I believe we could address the problematic part of this practise called Nepotism. I do understand that there might be other financial or societal constraints that one might not necessarily be able to fall back on, but during such emotional crises, all one needs to do is primarily accept their struggle. Accept that they are not able to achieve what they want. Accept that they have lost clarity about their goals. Accept that they are no longer able to function emotionally and mentally in dealing with a certain life crises. Accept that … and seek help. Just like a general physician, we all need to have a “go to” mental health professional on call… someone we could call without any embarrassment or fear of being judged. Someone we can call to share our messed up state of mind, to regain that clarity, and develop an alternative coping strategy to survive. Happiness is not just a state of mind, its also a state of our hormones and chemical imbalances, which might need some medication in order to restart and get our lives back on track. When seeking medical advice from a general physician, we don’t worry about being judged for being unwell. In fact, we share all the symptoms and trust the physician to treat our symptoms right away. We need to approach a mental health professional, with THAT very comfort and THAT very attitude. There is nothing wrong in seeking guidance from a mental health professional. Even if you have this amazing group of family and friends, a professional would be able to give you a perspective and treat you like none of them can. This kind of professional help could not only preserve our mental health but could also possibly save a life!

I say let’s practise nepotism of a kind wherein we all care for the mental well being of our own kind – our mankind, our humankind. Let’s look out for each one in our lives because everyone is fighting some battle of their own. Lets reach out to them, acknowledge them, respect them, appreciate them, show concern and care for them, before its too late. Let’s genuinely tune in to make sure that each one in our lives has a reason to live, no matter what. Let’s motivate and enable them to deal with the ups and downs of their life situations and at the same time, inspire them to keep going on. Whether we like it or not, nepotism is here to stay, but lets ensure that mental health issues are not. That’s the critical “take away” that we all need to focus on when a Sushant Singh Rajput finds it easier to end his life, rather than end his struggles.

As a mum raising a toddler in this real world today, I have by default signed up to take on this challenging task of raising a toddler who is not just physically strong, intellectually bright and socially compatible but also mentally resilient… I need to prepare my toddler to handle disappointments in life, today, tomorrow and forever.. however small or big those disappointments might be. I need to constantly keep a check on and focus on my toddler’s mental health more than anything else. I truly believe that the rest can fall in place … and only with a strong mental framework will my toddler be able to achieve her full potential and her more than ever ambitious goals. In the real world today, whenever she fails, she needs to be mentally strong enough to not just survive but to succeed. And I, as her mum, have this huge responsibility on me, to raise her to see her failures as her stepping stones towards success. Accept the disappointments, revise your attitude, modify your goals, alter your approach and restart your efforts to live life to the fullest. #LifeIsBeautiful #MentalHealthMatters #FightOrFightHarder #NeverGiveUp

3 thoughts on “What I choose to learn from Sushant Singh Rajput’s decision to put an end to his life… and many more like him.

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