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The Story of A Suicide by Sriram Ayer: Book Review

By Nandhinisbookreviews

The Story of A Suicide by Sriram Ayer: Book ReviewPartly a self-help book, partly a novel, 'The Story of a Suicide' by Sriram Ayer discusses the emotional intricacies of four youngsters who face common challenges of today's young generation. 

It is an open book, available online here for public reading. The book can be read via a laptop, computer, phone or tablet. It also has an audio book option available. 

The Plot
The story revolves around four youngsters who are undergoing stressful situations in their lives. Hari suffers a bad past from his abused childhood. Mani has difficulty in studying in an English medium course. Sam is frustrated with repeated rejections from the girls he loved. Charu dislikes men who try to control the lives of women. All of them come together to study in the same college. The sharing of their personal woes and interactions make the scenes of the 31 chapters of the book. 
Flow and Narration
The book is perhaps a quick read if you are used to digital reading. I am not a gadget person, so it did take a few days to complete. The author's writing style is quite a style. It isn't like anything I've read before. Not that it's sophisticated; rather it is plain, simple and well up to the point. Though I couldn't sync in with the first two chapters, from the third I got hooked onto the plot. Yet, there's definitely a miss in the flow of narration in between. Though not a major concern, it is apparent during the reading. 
Realistic conversations make the narration interesting. The conversations exactly depict how youngsters use present day jargons and the 'F', 'B', 'A' words with which they express their frustrations and emotions explicitly. However, if one is not used to reading or hearing such words, the reading experience might initially be shocking or unpleasant to some. Nevertheless, as the story unwinds, the reader shall begin to accept the characters for how they speak, changing the initial shocking perspective of the language part.
Scoop of the book
This book is a platform to dive into how youngsters feel when faced with life's difficulties. Hari's character has been built strongly showing the underlying side of his fears because of a sexually abused childhood and the consequences that lead to his sexual orientation. His story is an eye-opener to parents, especially, to have a check on the lives of their children. Mani's childhood where his drunkard father puts the family into trouble is equally relatable to what happens in several lower socio-economic families. At one point he attempts suicide but regrets later after he gets rescued. Mani's story, for some reason, did not sound significant as much as the others'. 
More closer were the characters of Sam and Charu. It was as though their thought processes were scrolling down on a screen. They both were the best works of the author in the entire book. Through the character of Charu, the author has brought out how women are seen and treated in our country. It is no exaggeration but an ugly reality of the time period we are living in. Yet, the fragile girl in her who becomes vulnerable to a private threat finally dictates the limitation of all women. Sam is a perfect example of what men look in and expect from a girl of their target. Perhaps, in men, lust over powers love. How the feeling of being put to shame transforms to hatred has been beautifully articulated through Sam's psyche. 
Excerpts from the Book
A few descriptions of real-time observations with profound meaning were admirable. This is one such I liked: 
'Hari was amused by two small crabs that were on a race only to be drawn back in to the waters by the oncoming wave. Hari smiled at their predicament but was surprised to find that they continued their race till the next wave destroyed their present purpose.' (Chapter: Our Secret)
What's after reading the book? 
This book has come to us at the right time and most importantly, in the right form (free reading). Several scenes in the book helped me contemplate on these subjects. It reminded me of people I've known who have faced similar struggles. Most often, I could only listen to them but wasn't able to help them in a big way. Now that the book has planted the seed in me to bring change in others' lives, I begin here, with a little piece of my thoughts. 
Teenage is an age to pep up in life, to hope for a brighter future and step onto the ladder of growth and development. However, if mental health during this phase of life is disturbed, it can take a toll of the rest of the life. With child abuse and other unpleasant social atrocities, youngsters aren't let to survive in a warm society. They are surrounded by potentially harmful technology and judgmental people all around them. When even not life half-lived, youngsters might not be strong to face challenges while in fact they are undergoing the strengthening process. Well, what can we do about it?
If you are facing a serious difficulty, be it a break-up or sexual abuse or anything undefined, help yourself to come out of the victimization. You may or may not be in the state of self-help, Yet, check if you can do any of the following:
Speak up: It might not be as easy as written here. However, choose a trustworthy person. If you are not willing to disclose your feelings to any known person, seek professional help such as a NGO or a mental health counselor. But speak up! Speaking your heart out is half burden taken down. 
Prepare for rejection: Well, speaking out may make you feel rejected, sometimes. Expect this even before you speak up. Others might not empathize or sympathize with you the way you expect them to. Expect this too. Prepare your mind for the worst reaction. You might be chided. You might be laughed at. You might be ignored. Yet, feel good that you did a first aid to yourself in speaking up.
Seek help: Depending upon the level of your problem, seek outside help like a police complaint or a psychiatric appointment or with a mental health organization. The message is don't give up seeking help. 
Identify the source of your inspiration: You may not be in the best of state to think about inspirations. However, try harder to identify what inspires you the most. It could be a book reading or painting or writing or movies or food or yoga or social service. Force yourself into it. It may take sometime before you can breathe out in ease. 
How Do I?: Try reading the 'How Do I?' answers from the book, 'The Story of a Suicide'. 
Help Yourself: We all are alone in our individual lives. That's the bottom truth. Help yourself the best you can without indulging in alcohol, tobacco, drugs and anything illegal and detrimental. 
Drop a line: The comment section below is welcome to hear your story. Not that this is the best place to share your problems but know there's a place where you wouldn't be rejected. 

Title: The Story of A SuicideAuthor: Sriram AyerIllustrations: GhanaPublisher: Self-publishedChapters: 31
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http://www.storyofasuicide.com/
About the Book
"The Story of a Suicide" by Sriram Ayer is a young, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends novel, which grippingly tells the stories of Hari, Charu, Sam and Mani, whose lives are interconnected in a web of love, passion, revenge and deceit.
Today's youngsters are expressive, self-absorbed, independent, afraid, hurried, fearless, fame hungry, but surprisingly resilient. In a world that makes unreasonable demands on them, many are disillusioned about their education, relationships, jobs, sexuality, bullying, and abuse. In the backdrop of a powerful story and visuals, this project aims to reach out to young people, by verbalising their struggles through the story, informing the do's and don'ts when they face challenges, and providing a platform to share their experiences.
Reading the novel is simple. Click the top menu for a list of chapters or follow the link at the bottom of the page. The site is mobile responsive, so you can read it on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You can also listen to the novel by clicking on the play button under the Audio book. Each chapter has a set of "How do I?" on various issues.
About the Author
Sriram is a writer, social entrepreneur and compulsive dreamer. He founded NalandaWay Foundation, which works with children from the most exploitative situations in India, helping them using the creative power of arts, to become creative, learn life-skills, build self-confidence and succeed in schools. Named by the Outlook Business magazine as one of the top 50 social entrepreneurs in India, he has received numerous awards, including the World Bank’s South Asia development marketplace award, 'Architect of the Future' by Waldzell Institute, Austria, Ashoka Fellowship and more recently the Millennium Award instituted by US AID, Govt. of India, UK AID and FICCI.

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