These days I find myself bouncing around in happiness like a ball on the surface of a tiny Martian moon (I could be even be a satellite of that satellite, oh random blabbering, no meaning to be attached here). The thought that brings balance and controls my chaotic energy is the thought of “H”. The connection postdates two other connections. One of them was a cheerful singing voice of a girl in the neighborhood (I was a teen at the time), the other was a disheveled, friendless, graduate student writing her thesis, looking for latex help. I failed to notice that both of them needed human touch, warmth and friendship. Both of them were nice people who had the potential to make the world a better place. Both of them later committed suicide.
When I met H, as a student in my class, I knew in my bones that he was at risk (conscious? subconscious? Both?). He appeared to have already given up on learning from most teachers by then. He had failed the course several times previously and so was there in my class for the first time. He was very polite and considerate. Must have attended only 5 or 6 of my 40 or so classes (I also worked with him in a lab, where he was more regular). Had a spark in him. In the midterms he did not know the test was open-book, he came without a book, I borrowed the text from another student and gave it to him. He attempted the first question (Which I had foolishly selected to be tough (forget tradition, chronology, whatever, make the first question easy)). He was possibly attracted by the challenge, did it correctly half way through and despite my all goodwill for him, I had to fail him in the test. I tried to talk to him whenever I could get a chance, he was not very communicative. Later, his faculty adviser told me that he had mentioned my course as one of the courses he liked. I could have made a difference, but could not. I am never very hard on myself, I know my limitations. But this thought can give me some balance. After 2-3 more years I heard the news that he was drowned in the sea, I don’t know the reason, but in India, parental and peer and societal pressure could be back-breaking.