Letter from a train-driver’s daughter – Paralympians’ zeal for life

Dear stranger,

Yes, you’re the man who jumped in front of the train that my father drove. Why did you do that? What made you end your life?
When he saw you, he put his brakes on and blew the horn. Even then, you didn’t move away from the railway track and he realised why you were there.
It is a traumatic experience for any driver to have someone commit suicide under their train. Do you realise how severe are the after effects for him and his family? It’s the thing that stays in the vanguard of his mind for months. He knows it’s not his fault. He didn’t cause that to happen. But he does still have pangs of guilt. He doesn’t sleep; he’s tired all the time and gets irritated easily. And our whole family has to deal with him not being his usual self.

Okay, enough advocating for my father. He’ll get over it soon. Now, let me ask you – were you so badly stuck in a terrible life situation that you ended your life? Were your problems so overwhelming? Haven’t you heard Limp Bizkit singing – “cause life is a lesson, you learn it why you’re through” ?

Let me tell you a true story of a man who suffered permanent disability in his right leg at the age of five. Born to single mother, he is one of the five children abandoned by their father. His mother raised him and his siblings, carrying bricks as labourer until becoming a vegetable-seller, earning ₹100 a day. He was just a five-year old kid when he was run over by a drunk bus driver while walking to school; thus crushing his leg below the knee. Despite this tragedy, he completed secondary school, got qualified for Rio Paralympics where he won the gold medal in the men’s high jump T42 finals, and even donated money received from prize to the Government school he studied to improve facilities. He is Mariyappan Thangavelu- the Indian Paralympic high jumper who represented India in the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games.
The Syrian refugee, Ibrahim al Hussein, is also a Paralympic athlete. He lost his leg in a rocket bomb explosion while rushing to the aid of his friend. Just see the plight of those trapped in war-torn countries and those left with no other choice but to risk their lives to try and escape persecution.
I can cite more than thousand such stories that emphasises on do-not-give-up attitude. Were your problems bigger than those?
Heartbreak, financial crisis, being jobless, domestic violence, death of loved ones or any failure – whatever the problem is, the solution’s never going to be death. Unlike others, I won’t call you a coward because I know it takes a huge amount of courage to even harm oneself, let alone suicide. But, if you had applied the same amount of strength and courage to solve your life situation, then you would have made my father a bit less guilty and most importantly, you would have been alive bravely overcoming your hurdles.
If it were possible, I would have been there with you at that moment, to sit with you and talk, face to face and heart to heart.
After all, no body can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

Yours sincerely ,

The train driver’s daughter

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