'I wanted to commit suicide but didn't'
According to a recent research, suicide is the second most common cause of death amongst young Indians. As part of a series on suicide prevention, we asked Arun Pandit to write this special column for us. Arun Pandit who runs a popular motivational website -- dontgiveupworld.com -- writes about how he almost ended his life but decided to give life one more shot and became a successful entrepreneur. This is his story.
It is a very long story about heartbreaking failures, moments of hopelessness and the struggle to overcome the extreme odds. I would still try to be brief. It was when I was studying in Class 12 of the Sainik School Sujanpur Tihra.
During this period I suffered a series of successive failures. It appeared as if I was being hit by one failure after another with the speed of light. Each blow grew mightier and more lethal than the one that had gone by. I got no time to recoup from the damages of the previous blows. My life seemed to be like a 'hit me' doll, which was meant to rise and fall, only to realise that it would be hit again and made to fall. I could not take it anymore.
I must confess failure is much harder to swallow than it seems. I failed in almost all the exams I had appeared for -- I failed thrice at the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exam, a place I dreamt of joining, a place where everyone felt I was cut out for.
I wanted to become the best literary captain the school had ever seen but I was removed from the post of school literary captain. It was due to an unintentional mistake that in general I would never do but somehow I did. Most people are either not caught or are spared for the first time. Unfortunately I was not lucky enough.
Thereafter I was misdiagnosed for a disease I was not suffering from and due to it my condition got severe and I had to be hospitalised during the Class 12 board exams. I appeared in the most fragile health conditions and even fainted during one of the board exam.
I got to know that I got a compartment in Class 12 board examination in-between the break of the biggest and toughest examination I had ever taken i.e. the IIT mains.
I failed in almost all the engineering entrance exams with weirdest reasons like filling in the wrong roll number in the OCR sheet etc. I worked very hard for the compartment exam only to realise that I was given a compartment again.
Image: Arun Pandit
'I wanted to commit suicide but didn't'
It may appear hard to believe but it seemed that the harder I worked the bigger I failed. I virtually lost everything I loved and was passionate about. It appeared as if the whole universe was conspiring against me and there were hell bound to see me fail. And believe me they were successful in doing so...
I decided to take the shortcut to heaven by committing suicide. I began sending messages to my good friends. I told them that I have tried my best and I can't take it anymore. They began calling me endlessly. I did not pick their calls. Suddenly I received an SMS which read 'I was crying of having no shoes until I saw a man without feet... Take this world as a challenge... Prove your mettle!'
Sometimes one thought... one moment can change your life... Somehow these words lifted me up. And I tried again. The message was simple: Fail... Fall... Cry... Even die... but DON'T GIVE UP!! " .
The road ahead was very rough and challenging. I had to begin from ground zero. The pressure of the past was an additional burden that I had to offload in order to move forward.
The odds were heavily stacked up against me. The so called auspicious number 51 was not very auspicious if it was your Class 12 board percentage.
I did not know how I can change the situation. I had no solution or strategy as such. The only thought that was running through my mind was that I wanted to prove my worth.
Title:'I wanted to commit suicide but didn't'
If there was one in a million chances of failure, I had to be that one. I did not know whether I would have another life as our Hindu mythology states. I just knew that I had this one life that I can be sure of. And it was better for me to burn out trying to prove my worth instead of fading away.
So I recollected myself and started to make the best use of opportunities and resources available. The one good thing I did was that I made my past experiences an asset and not a liability. With every success I grew in confidence. I realized that these experiences are the real gem of my life. It was because of these obstacles and failures that I learned to win. Otherwise most probably I would not have achieved what I have achieved today.
Since I understood that value of motivation, I started an SMS group (http://www.smsgupshup.com/groups/dontgiveup ) to motivate others. I used to send motivational quotes daily to the members subscribed to it. Slowly it started to turn into a community where all the people began contributing. The SMS group reached from a meagre 200 to 4400 in one year and is presently having over 7600 members.
The efforts of the group via a community driven culture was appreciated by Microsoft Research India. Now I felt that different people have different motivational needs and preferences. Some are motivated by quotes and some by videos or wallpapers. Therefore we needed a bigger and more diverse platform where we wanted to bring the different motivational content under one roof. We wanted to create a source for inspiration.
Therefore I started dontgiveupworld.com as an attempt to bring a daily dose of motivation to the masses. It was once again a community driven initiative where everything was done by the members. The members created/shared content across the website and social media. They manage the web servers, website and word-of-mouth marketing etc.
Everything is done by the members based upon their area of interest and skill set. We have grown into a more than 2 million hits website in a very small time frame. This was achieved by positive word of mouth and without spending a penny on monetary promotion. We were well recognised and encouraged by top brands like Levis with a fellowship of Rs 100,000 and by TISS as one of the Top 12 social innovations in India. Today we have more than over 25000 followers and members across our various online initiatives.
We want to make Don't Give Up World (TM) the world's biggest and most useful motivational website and community in the coming years.
We are going to invest into building a better and more professional website with additional features like android app, online psychological counselling, motivational webinars and webcast etc. We have a long road ahead and we are prepared to make it happen.
In the end I just want to say that it's your life. Take control of it. There is no failure that is lethal. There is no obstacle that is insurmountable. There are no odds that are odd enough. If you really want to do something then even God cannot stop you from doing it. Just don't think how... Get up now!