Friday, 29 February 2008

teachers bleed too, if only you understood that

for twelve years, you came to us
each day a new dawn-
a much loved daughter of your parents
pampered by two older brothers.
still, completely unspoilt
nothing was out of reach
nothing was denied
yet you never demanded-
maintaining a balance.
your friends adored you
teachers liked you
(owning this, is a rarity, believe me!)
last day of school
on the eve of your school leaving exams
you took our blessing, good wishes.

what happened in the next fifteen minutes
you went home and hanged yourself?

girl, empowerment is sharing too-
if you had only understood that
we could have saved a precious life.


I post this simple worded verse, raw and unedited. I am not coming back to improve upon it. I can't when the heart is bleeding. This happened on 25th of February, 2008. One of the students (17 years old) came to school, collected her admit card for the school leaving exams commencing from 1 March, 2008. Went home and hanged herself to death within the next 15 minutes. In moments like this, I question myself, where did we go wrong?


  1. im really sorry to hear this...
    i wonder what she must have been going thru to take up this last and ultimate resort...
    life puts forth some mystries which are never unravelled :(

  2. I know someone like this. She bears all on her shoulder and everyone thinks she is so put together. But I know the truth and yet she holds me powerless to help.

  3. not knowing is the worst...the why's forever remain in our hearts...those who live on. I wish, I wonder...but she is gone.

  4. It's painful and so sad for her parents and loved ones to bear. Teachers are not spared of course. It's moments like this, that makes teachers more reflective and more determined to succeed in reaching out to students. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh my God! :( What went on, in her mind in her last minutes that made her do this is a question on one side that can never be answered; and what will go on in her parents' and near ones' mind for the rest of their lives is a question no one would ever want to know the answer for. i feel sorry for her parents, her family, her teachers...have so many thoughts,so many questions running through my mind right now..but no point...wish she could have talked to someone before she went to that point of no return..wish that someone was me..strange, i know..yet...I am with you, Gautami. Take care...

  6. This poem needs no rewriting. It's perfect in its rawness. Tweaking it would ruin the pain leaking from each word.

    One of my students attempted suicide last year and it never leaves me. I always wonder what I could have done diffferently to help.

  7. Gosh!!! We hear such cases so often nowadays when exams draw near, but this was like a wahck on the head....asking us to wake up...
    and when u feel that you could have done something to help, it really hurts

  8. What a tragedy. I hope you are not allowing yourself to bear the burden of this young woman's death.

    You can never choose for someone else the path their life takes. Don't let yourself assume guilt for their choices.

  9. OMG, Gautami. What a thing to have to face and deal with.

    You can only do your best. As long as you do that, no one can ask for more.

  10. You can only do your best. And accept sometimes no one's best can ever be good enough.

  11. Your power is in your capacity to distill this tremendous emotion into words. Haunting, gut-wrenching and beautiful.

  12. O help do I share this one! I too am a teacher and also had a student who suicided by drowning some years ago (just before Christmas while doing final exams!) This student was not highly academic, but above average. He was loved by all. He was even a mentor for less able students. And yet, there was something missing. Perhaps, he felt too much weight of responsibility. I wish I knew the answer.

    Let me just say I feel your bleeding so much. Remember, we help where we can! But we must keep trying! I do!

    Smiles and Light

  13. Oh, damn it, tears fall tonight.

  14. I have known of several "kids" who have made the decision to end their life. During these devastating events, my heart has gone out to their parents, relatives, friends and even neighbors. I am ashamed to say I never thought about the affect their decisions had on their teachers. And now that I have been so enlightened by your testimony of love for your students, I am amazed I never saw the loss and sadness a teacher must feel at a time like this. I am so sorry for your pain. My only hope is in writing this, you are empowered to be even more caring to your students. Blessings, Cricket

  15. You did not. Sorry about your loss.

  16. I'm sorry! How awful and scary. You can never truly know what goes through a child's mind at moments like this. You are a caring teacher to hurt so badly. I hope your school has proper counselling and help during this trying time.

  17. isn't it sad how little these children value their lives...?

    the why's are never going to leave those close to her...

  18. gosh, i'm speechless. so sad...

  19. What a tragedy! I'm so sorry to hear this, Gautami. Just heartbreaking.

    When I was in London, there were news stories about 17 teenagers in Wales hanging themselves (not all at the same time), for no apparent reasons. It is just shocking - what could have been so terrible that they would resort to such an end?

    My heart goes out to you and your students. xo

  20. I am so sorry, Gautami. It is horribly sad for her, her family and friends, and every responsible adult that has heard. No one understands suicide, not really. I think if we could get in the minds of people and peek, we would be surprised by how much is going on behind the surface. Teachers, even parents, cannot know all, too many people are actually exceptional actors, whether by design or natural talent.

  21. This is raw and perfectly written. It's hard to believe that these children see no future. I guess we all do the best we can, when we can and hope for the best... It's sadness.

  22. I hurt for you. All I can say is that each person, no matter how young, is more than the influences (loving or otherwise) of others.

  23. Very painful. I hope writing it helped in some small way. I know it touched me.
    I'm very sorry to hear about this.

  24. This is sad.

    Is death the only escape to the hard times she went through? That we don't know. But taking her own life is still not right.

    I'm sorry.

    I wish you well.

    ~ Jeques

  25. Such a sad story. What can have been going on unseen in her mind?

  26. I can only imagine the pain this incident leaves you with, and her friends, her loved ones. Your verse was powerful and poignant, and the ending so unexpected.

  27. I actually wrote this in response;


  28. hey its extrememly important once we get empowered to make the right use of it.. very well said

  29. As a teacher this really hit home. You see your students day in and day out and want desperately to do what you can to help them reach their potential. But you can't reach all of them. And you can never really know what is happening inside their hearts and minds.
    Thinking of you in this time.

  30. Oh God.. my heart goes out to you.. I wonder what she must have been going through to take such a decision!!
    Very poignant piece


  31. Oh Gautami -- how utterly devastating. I appreciate your despair.

    As a young man, I experienced the suicide of a very good friend. I just kept wondering -- why... and why didn't I know?

    My heart goes out to you and to the family and friends of that dear, troubled soul.

  32. I'm so sorry, Gautami. I can never understand suicide. It deeply saddens me to think what her life must have been like to cause her to do that :(

    I agree with others. All you can do is your best. We can try to look for signs and encourage others, but sometimes it happens regardless.

  33. it is perfect as it stands... sharing is shame for some of those who have intentions of suicide... my heart shudders to think of what draws a person to a bridge of life and death and prefer death...

  34. my daughter is a teacher; teaching children in a domestic violence center - very powerful words