It’s personal: ‘I wish Kushal had spoken to me about his pain’

Depression – a topic which is either slipped under the carpet, or discussed too much by celebrities for personal publicity. Our industry has big names complaining about depression or forming NGOs to fight depression that lay people are going through. But there’s no one helping the real industry people…

The self-killing idea takes root when disturbing thoughts start attacking us. On the outside, life looks rosy; perfect picture. But on the inside, the dangerous level of torture builds up. And this eventually ends in suicide.

The person who took this decision was never weak; they fought the battle from their level of understanding. But finally the inner walls collapsed, the inner strength died, the internal battle was lost in the mind.

There was enough time for everyone close to that person to participate in this battle, but the fact is nobody cared enough. Superficial dialogue bazi doesn’t work, literal actions are required.

I was literally born in the Hindi film industry and I have seen umpteen cases of suicide of film and non-film personalities. The fact is, I too have been through this internal torture for many years.

Due to my previous toxic relationship, I tried to commit suicide four times. I forgot that what was happening to me was not permanent.

I was very weak and vulnerable. I had forgotten my inner strength and that I have two children. Going through a divorce since the last eight years, fighting 40 false cases… it all took a toll on me.

I was set to kill myself, but a decision to donate my last Rs.10,000 in 2012 to an old age home turned my life around. Empting my pocket completely, emptied me of my fear too. I took a leap of faith. Having tremendous faith in Krishna Consciousness made me a fighter.

That was my way of dealing with the situation without going to a psychiatrist. Now, I do my bit by constantly being aware of my surroundings, talking to random people who need some words to encourage and empower them.

We all go through these phases in life where we really can’t see any way of getting away from the pain that is killing us daily. In such situations, the decision to end it all is often triggered.

Recently, my colleague Kushal Punjabi took this decision. I really felt ashamed on hearing this news, instead of feeling sorry. I wish he had spoken to me about his pain.

Had he been daring enough to show his wounds, he would have been alive. Running away from life doesn’t change reality. Kushal and I were working on a web series together called r.p.m directed by Aziz Zee and produced by Crescendo Music.

The series was based on daredevil undercover cops; we were playing partners. Incidentally, Kushal and I were both fitness freaks and adventure lovers. We had our respective families and children. Weirdly enough, both of us were going through divorces too.

The fallout of being celebrated as actors is that we are trap

ped by our public images. Knowingly or unknowingly, we become totally conscious of the outside world and lose awareness of our inner selves. Faking our smiles and showing our brighter sides, focusing on building our six packs and forgetting about our mental health, aiming to always be on-the-go… is our disastrous reality. Social media too can take over you dangerously any time.

Nobody can be occupied 24/7. So the pressure of playing this game, of keeping up this facade, of using all the best brands, of being seen at all the best places creates an inner vacuum.

But one can fight any drastic low of life if surrounded by true family members. Highs and lows are a part of life but sharing one’s inner feelings, taking breaks and just leading a simple life keeps one going.

Salman Khan is the biggest example of true success not because of his fans or films, but because of his lovely family. They are always there for him and he, for them. There are a few more star families like Dharamji’s and Amitji’s too where they all hold each other strong.

We must remember one thing: Nothing is permanent. We can get out of our despondency by interacting with people. Sharing what’s troubling us makes a huge difference. There are a thousand ways to get going… so, we must slay suicide and get going in 2020!

— Co-ordinated by Riddhi Parker