By Vasu Primlani Sep. 10, 2016
Hung up on killing yourself? Here’s how not to do it.
ver the years, I have accumulated a small, and I’d like to think, a well-written, pile of suicide notes.
I’m always loath to throw away something I might need one day.
It’s okay to laugh; I’m still here.
I’m as much a fuck-up at suicide as at everything else.
Turns out, it’s damn-near impossible to drown yourself in the ocean if you hate getting your hair wet.
Also, leather takes three weeks to dry completely.
– Loren Kraut, Stand-up Comedian, San Francisco
First, I made a shopping list:
1. Pills (What kind? I’ve vaguely heard of Valium in Hollywood movies.)
2. Razor (Do they even sell those anymore? Gillette has a four-blade, but now they’re disposables and the blades don’t come out.)
3. Knife (Have a small one at home. I have no idea when I sharpened it last.)
4. Rat poison (I’ve preferred taking pills to liquid. Something about taste. But maybe I should get it… just as a backup.)
5. Don’t want to hang myself from a fan. The mechanics of it befuddle me. I don’t even think it will hold my weight. What if I crash to the floor and my mum says, “Kya hua?”
6. Can’t jump off a cliff. No cliffs here.
7. Can’t jump in front of a train or a car. Our traffic goes at 5-15 kmph anyway. The manoeuvrability of Delhi drivers is legendary.
I started walking to the chemist, scanning the ground to see if I could find half a razor blade. If it’s rusted, even better. If the cut doesn’t kill me, the tetanus will. I hate injections anyway. I can’t order the rat poison and the razor blade (the kind that comes out, you know) at the same time. The guy might get suspicious. “Dono kyun chahiye? Shave bhi karna hai, chuha bhi marna hai?”
What if he gives me Gillette? Nahin uncle, non-disposable chahiye. It’s not the razor I want to dispose of. It’s me I need to dispose of. So, I walk to another chemist. Can’t tell him I need pills. “What kind?” he will ask. The kind to kill yourself with.
I want to kill myself, not hurt myself. Surely there’s a way to do one without the other?
The search “How to kill yourself” on Google throws up carbon monoxide poisoning. Yeah, right. Google, usually Mr Know-it-all, doesn’t know that we don’t have garages in India. If I start up my car somewhere indoors there will be 15 neighbours rushing in, yelling, “Paagal hai kya? Hum sab ko maaregi kya?” Like this city needs more pollution. Maybe I should just go stand on MG Road for a day. That should do it.
So I go with the knife. I pick up to test its edge. I’ll do it gently. Ok, I am a wuss around pain. I want to kill myself, not hurt myself. Surely there’s a way to do one without the other? I don’t want to die and cry through it. Elegance is what I’m aiming for. Also, I don’t trust myself not to rush out like a crazy person and beg bystanders to stop the bleeding. Or worse, before that I’ll pass out from the sight of blood anyway. I know what you’re thinking… being a woman, she should be used to blood. But screw you, I’m not. And the blood problem pretty much rules out flinging myself from a building too. Apart from the sheer inelegance of the splat… all that mess and brain matter. I would just die of disgust. And on principle, I believe you should never die doing something you love, and I kinda love heights.
I brace myself, put the knife to my wrist and make a slicing movement. This is much harder than I thought. You know, front-and-back motion is easier than side-to-side. These knives aren’t really meant for suicide. Isn’t there like a niche market or something? Like, make a right-angled handle, I don’t know. I suddenly have an urge to have jalebi. Focus, I tell myself sternly. I try harder. At least I pierced skin that time. It really hurts. As the blood spurts, I black out.
I wake to a sharp pain in my wrist, and blood crud caked all over it. There is a small pool of blood under my hand. I knew it! Damn it! Why don’t I ever listen to myself?
A giant-sized kung fu panda floats out at me through my dizziness. “You suck the most in the history of China. In the history of sucking,” he says. I’m sure he means India, doesn’t he?
I close my eyes. I wonder if I can go buy a T-shirt that says “I’m with loser” with a finger pointing to myself. Tomorrow is another day. I’ll dig out some more research. But first, I really wanna get that T-shirt.
Vasu Primlani is a somatic therapist and a stand-up comedian. This article is a fictional empathetic conjecture on what the motions of suicide must feel like.
Vasu Primlani is an award-winning stand-up comedian, writer, corporate trainer, inspirational speaker, triathlete, social entrepreneur, environmentalist, somatic therapist, and a business school and green design professor. She is the first comedian to receive the prestigious Nari Shakti award.