Trigger warning: Suicide
The Gatekeepers of Heaven,
I am writing this letter to inform you about the demise of my dearest friend, Neev.
Neev had two heads. At the age of nine, Neev’s neck ruptured and two heads blossomed.
Neev’s new head was a woman’s.
Neev’s father perceived this metamorphosis as a disease.
He took Neev to a hospital and requested the doctors to cure his son. When the doctors failed to separate the inseparable, Neev’s father built walls around Neev. Neev was locked away in a room and was never allowed to mingle with others. Neev had no outside world to inhabit.
A caged bird, Neev began to hear disturbing voices at night. Neev often wore white coloured shirts but was preparing for a journey from white to black. Neev told me, ‘I am a swan who is ready to sail.’
As Neev grew and expanded, yearning to meet the sky, the roots of morality dragged Neev back into the earth. Neev was rendered motionless.
Neev came to my place and took out a small plastic bag filled with green water. Two black moor goldfish floated inside the bag. Neev wanted to set them free. ‘I will walk to the edge of the river and release them in water. Can they ride the currents and conquer the flow of the river?’ Neev asked.
The next day Neev’s deceased body was recovered from the nearby river. I know Neev soared from that bridge in pain but sank in the river with joy.
It took me a month to gather the courage to enter Neev’s room. The room was intact but it felt like it had nothing. I found a note written by Neev under the empty fishbowl in the room.
The note read:
Who has known my body better? Why do I have two heads? Is it my fault or my fate? You tried labeling the indescribable in me. I am not a beggar, and you are not a giver. I am not in bondage. I am free.
I hold no retribution. I do not feel disgusted. I am not going to be in your box anymore. You cannot tame me.
The world outside felt nothing for me. It remained untroubled and outrageous.
My eyes no longer hold shame. Today I conquered and overcame myself.
I am crawling out of the cave. I have no malaise. Wearied from life, I fly. Now I dance, and I am alive. My neck stands broken, and this is my dreamy resignation.
Who is responsible for this death? We never celebrated Neev’s identity. Some of us were hostile, and others were indifferent to Neev. We failed Neev. We broke both of Neev’s necks.
We locked the gates of earth and threw Neev away.
I beg you, the gatekeepers of heaven, to unlock your gates and accept my beloved friend Neev in heaven.
We sometimes choke rainbows on earth, but will you embrace the rainbow in heaven?
Your act of acceptance and kindness will allow the afterworld to dazzle with Neev’s verity and love. Let this be the beginning of a chapter where no one can confine the rainbow.
If you know someone – friend or family member – at risk of suicide, please reach out to them. The Suicide Prevention India Foundation maintains a list of telephone numbers (www.spif.in/seek-help/) they can call to speak in confidence. You could also refer or accompany them to the nearest hospital.
Nikhil Kumar is a writer by night, a reader by day and an aspiring poet and satirist. His Instagram handle is @nikhil_528, and you can find his blogs here.