India, the world’s second largest country in terms of population, has 50% of its population under the age of 25 and 60% under the age of 35. With such numbers, it’s safe to say many Indians are students. Be it, undergrads, graduates or PhD scholars, everyone is in this mad race to stay relevant. The stress, the fatigue and the fear, is ruining young minds. From a young age, they are brought up like racehorses, and trained to excel in their fields, if that isn’t enough they are enrolled into a horde of extra-curricular activities. Intellect is the only way forward, and with a change in times and the demand of the industries, you change your dreams and fancies. Like sheep, you are brought up to be sheared naked by corporates. Again, to no surprise we see students not able to cope up and the rise in the number of visits to the counsellor, of the number of cases of depression, of feigning suicide to suicide itself.
In my college, I have witnessed the same in a batchmate, a senior and one junior. I don’t know what happened for them to resort to such a decision. But years progressed and as now I am about to sit for placements, I realise the incredible fear of not performing well, of not being relevant. We start craving for help, a way to escape. And when we don’t have that help, we might succumb to our fears.
I will tell you a story about a boy in my class. He was the “not-studious-nor-relevant” kind, or shall we say that was the popular outlook in the class. He is that guy who either shows up late or doesn’t at all. Once, when I was walking to a nearby town, I somehow ended up walking with him. I asked him where he was going, and he replied that he has to take a “puff” and that it was killing him. I didn’t say anything back, and we both parted ways shortly. A year later, my project group members and I were standing in our faculty advisor’s office for a signature. Sir asked us whether we had seen this boy in class, and we were all ashamed to admit that we didn’t know. He told us another story, a story of a brilliant boy who used to ace in his exams and got into this very college. He was soon intimidated by the pace and the fellow students, and slipped into an addiction he couldn’t pull himself out of.
A year later, he has a smile on his face, and he is attending classes regularly. Seeing him puts a smile on our face and hope in our hearts. We are unfortunately born in a country where people have to fight for their survival. In this stampede of emotional trauma and pressure, some many slip and fall, and get trampled on. Look around; they will be calling for help. You might not be able to hear them, because there is noise everywhere.
People sometimes need help to get their mind over the matter. Even if someone appears to be fine, it is our duty as peers and friends to always lend a helping hand.