‘Siya Seth Decides to Die’, the first time I read this title, I was a bit taken aback. For me, death has always been an unwelcome, unwanted, but inevitable reality, be it struggling with the untimely demise of a loved one or the myriad, almost cruel, detailed headlines of the newspapers, briefing about the latest murders or accidents in the town.
Whatever the case, I always considered a God’s will behind someone’s death. So, reading a book, written on (as it seems from the very title) the conscious decision of a girl to end her own life, slightly ruffled my curious wings and I gladly accepted the offer to read and review this book.
The basic facts first – the novel is written by Sneha Mehta, a student of organizational psychology and a freelance writer and is published by Diamond Pocket Books.
The very prologue makes it clear that the protagonist, Siya Seth has already died and this book is somewhat of a suicide note, written straight from heaven, by a girl who has probably suffered hell on earth and is enjoying the eternal bliss only after death. Sample the lines below that give a sneak peek into her life before suicide :
“Life sucked me dry. I felt like a diagonally parked car in a parallel universe. People rolled up, collided, had accidents, and recovered; while I lay bruised. externally and internally. Seen and unseen. I committed suicide. For my own good.”
Well, needless to say, the above lines evoked sympathy and an unsatisfiable curiosity in me and I plunged head long into this never heard before story.
However, for the first two or three chapters, all my search to find out the reasons for Siya Seth’s disgust with her life proved futile. She seemed to be a regular, unabashed, bold girl, coming on terms with the first rushes of adulthood, dealing with the seen and unseen changes in her body and psyche. A smart student, with rich and loving parents, and a best friend Reva to share life’s joys and sorrows. She seemed to be having everything, considered essential in this era, to lead a comfortable life.
But, as the story progressed, it became apparent that all is not hunky dory in the life of young, vivacious, motor mouthed Ms Seth. Something is bothering her, forcing her to behave arrogantly and irresponsibly, something slimier, dirtier than the language she uses.
And the moment, the secret was revealed through the incoherent dreams and not so subtle hints, I was shocked. This novel is not just a time pass one, showing you the happier and dirtier sides of rich, spoilt kids, but is a novel attempt to unearth one of the most ancient yet hidden, hushed about secrets of family, the presence of a dormant, devilish human tendency, forcing someone to have an incestuous relation with one’s own blood.
Siya is struggling with such a monster, who molests her at every possible opportunity, scars her with an indelible imprint of manhood , forces the child in her to die an early death, and propels her towards an impending doom. Her trust is betrayed. She lies to her friends, teachers and even her mother, trying to give hints, but never fully divulging the torture she is being put through, scared to name her tormentor lest, as has been very rightly pointed out in the following excerpt:
“If I had told her, she wouldn’t believe me. If she had believed me, she would be broke. If she would be broke, she would hate me. If she would hate me, I wouldn’t have anyone who loves me. If there wasn’t anyone who loved me, life doesn’t make sense. If life doesn’t make sense, I will have to end it.”
And, this warped logic forces her to keep her mouth shut, to suffer every living moment and to rush towards death to get the much needed breath.
However, all said and done, Siya Seth’s choicest swear words and colorful language makes sure that she loses out on the sympathy, she rightly deserves from the readers. She seems hollow, devoid of emotions, a wooden caricature and despite my best attempts to accept her harrowing situations as the reason for her bad mouthiness and eccentric behavior, she did not impress me as a real girl.
Though, there are certain light moments that add colors to the otherwise gloomy canvas. I particularly enjoyed the episodes of Zen’s wedding, Siya’s first date, the fanciful past life therapy and the pot shots, Sneha takes at the Cops, drivers and at life in general, bringing forth the liveliness that is still alive in the otherwise stone-dead, wooden Siya Seth.
The novel as a first attempt by Sneha is a humble beginning, though, given her witty comments, interspersed in the novel, providing the much needed comic relief, I would be more than interested to read a light hearted comical offering from her kitty, detached from the dark recesses and deep ravines of the journey called life.
Book : Siya Seth Decides To Die
Author : Sneha Mehta
Published by : Diamond Books
Edition : 2011 (Paperback)
No. of Pages: 255
Price : Rs. 100/-