Image by Sergei Tokmakov Terms.Law from Pixabay 

I was sitting on the couch Papa bought last month, waiting for Maa. She usually wakes up by the first flush of morning. I guess I was the first one to get up today, truly speaking I don’t remember sleeping much last night. There was no other possible reason why a not-so-morning person like me would be awake at this hour of the day.

I was there, eagerly waiting to surprise Maa, to tell her finally, finally, I was feeling better today, much lighter actually. As if the heaviness I was feeling was off me at length. Eventually, I saw her coming out of her room, twisting her hand as she tied her long hair in a bun. She went straight to the washroom, maybe she didn’t notice me. I tried calling her but there was no response on her end. Was she still angry regarding our argument last night? For The last few days, I was not able to get up, probably because it was a side effect of the new keto diet I was trying. It was affecting my school and my studies, last night Maa asked me to have some food I refused and It resulted in a big fight between me and Maa last night.

I decided to wait for some time, maybe she was busy. She came out of the washroom and made her way to the room opposite hers on the corridor. Suddenly I heard her scream loudly, I ran towards the room. I saw ma crying while looking at the ceiling. I looked in the direction she was looking, and I saw my body hanging from the ceiling.

It all came back to me at once, last few days I had won at my lowest if they were worse than the previous. It all started a year back when I joined my new school in class 11. My father got a transfer in his job, as a result, I too had to shift. I was scared all this while, but amongst the new processors, and admissions changes, I really had high hopes for the new world I was going to be a part of. But to my dismay, nothing of that sort happened yes I made a few friends but the majority of them bullied me made fun of my appearance and called me names. Of course, I was not conventionally beautiful as per society's standards. I was overweight, wheatish, or a Buffalo as they called me, my hair was always oiled and tied up in a ponytail and nowhere to be compared to the beautiful girls of our class.

I had friends, or not so much of friends I guess, they used to tease me and call me ‘dirty’ formal looks I guess it bordered them, so much that they choose to write it on my slambook mentioning it in bold capital letters.

I could not care less about the others but what hurt me were the actions of those whom I called my friends. But more than hurt, I was tired of the bizarre assumptions about my appetite, and my health. Because according to some self-proclaimed doctors around me, the viral fever I was suffering from was due to obesity.

I was tired of listening to the various weight loss techniques suggested by some distant relative who saw me for the first time or some random stranger.

I asked my mother for help, of course, she chipped in with me, she took me to a psychiatrist. But what I could not understand was why did she choose to lie to our neighbours about my illness. As for her, saying to people I was suffering from UTI, was actually better than admitting I had mental health issues. The doctor prescribed me some medicines, it aided me initially but eventually, it rendered unaided.

My so-called schoolmates continued tormenting me eyes discontinue taking the medicines. I was struggling each day to even get out of bed, let alone do other chores. By using things life at like a burden to me. I was starving, Putting myself through practically impossible diets but I guess that was never enough.

My engrossed thoughts were interrupted when I heard papa’s footsteps approaching. He stepped inside and stood in a corner, his eyes swelled up with tears. I had never seen Papa crying before first how deeply I wished to hug him, to see him that it was just a bad drink, he will open his eyes and everything would be the way it was always working there was no way I could have done it.

It was almost 11, Maa was sitting on the bed some neighbours were kind enough to bring down my body or corpse as they started addressing me. I guess our name, identity everything matters till we are in the land of the living. After that, you are just a body. They placed my body on the bed. She had been crying continuously anyone could have felt how miserable she

“Wake up, baba, please. I promise to not scold you anymore. I am sorry. Please don’t punish me this way. “ she said caressing my face. I sat in front of her, bound with helplessness. How do I tell her? It was never your fault. I took my life but not just for you, I was tired of being shamed for my appearance. It was easier for me to take my own life than to bear with them anymore. I was depressed Maa, I was screaming for help every time, I couldn’t withstand it anymore.

The neighbours, relatives and my friends had been visiting since morning. The Police had visited, interrogated, and taken my body for autopsy.

“What happened suddenly? “One of them asked, “she never seemed to be depressed, she was always so cheerful.”

Maa was crying inconsolably, "It's all my fault she was depressed she even told me she was being bullied at school. I did not pay heed to it. I killed my daughter,” she said whimpering .”I always thought she will get over it. I didn’t take it seriously she was crying for help and there I was thinking about this stupid society. That same society that talks behind your back and make fun of your ailments especially if you are a girl she continued I always thought if the news of depression came out, no one will like to marry her after all a girl in our society has to be perfect to get married.”

I stood there, if only she had discouraged me before standing up for me I have been very different. I guess it was too late for shop people tend to understand that, but sometimes it’s too late polls up too late to stand up for your loved ones, too late to realize their value over the societal expectations.

To this date, taboos exist among us we do not fit into the conventional standards or expectations and are strangled, and punished for Something we never did.

It was high time we accept those who are among us, accept mental illness and treat them with the same importance as we do with physical illness. Mental health is not something to be ashamed of, The topic of mental illness is often shrouded in the bone stigma which hinders open communication and relationships. Opening up about your struggles can help. It can make others feel less alone and encourage them to speak about their center. But it can also help by allowing yourself to ask for and accept help.

The next day, my body came back from the autopsy full shop it was time for me to get dressed for the last time. They draped me in a new dress, sprinkled my favourite talc, and sprayed my favourite perfume. After all, it was my ultimate journey. One of my friends said, “she looks so pretty.”

And just like that everyone started appreciating me as a person and not how I looked…

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