I can’t still believe what has happened yesterday morning. It’s very sad to know that one of our active and sincere youth volunteers has taken his own life. When I first heard the news last night, my heart literarily froze with pain and grief. It’s really a tragic moment for his family, friends and all of us at the Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education. Tandin was a very sincere and active volunteer who had been taking an active part in our programs and activities. He had been volunteering with us since a couple of years ago and he had helped us during so many important programs. He was studying in Motithang High School and I know he had a very bright future ahead of him. But today, it’s painful to know that he is no more with us.
Today, we at the Department made some monetary contributions and went to the cremation ground to pay tribute to our late young friend. We learned that he was from a broken family and that his mother was living in the village. He wasn’t living with his father either. It seems he was living with his uncle and that he had been going through a lot of financial and domestic problems. This year, he had not visited us that often and we didn’t know that he was going through such a difficult time. Whenever I met his group, I had told them what I have been trained to do as a counselor and had advised them to consult me if they needed any help. But neither did he tell me anything nor could I notice any symptom. Although I could not have made him prevent this tragedy, at least I would have got the opportunity to talk to him and sort out some of the things that were pressing him down. But now it’s too late and there isn’t anything I can do for him except to pray for his eternal peace and better rebirth.
At the cremation ground, we met his grieving mother and elder sister. We talked to them and shared our condolences for such a great loss. His mother told us that just on Wednesday evening, he had hired a taxicab to come to Punakha to see her. Then early yesterday morning, he had returned to Thimphu. He had told his mother that he didn’t want to study in Thimphu and that he would like to continue his studies in Punakha after the mid-term exams this year. But it seems he had already planned his way. He went to school, attended a few classes and then disappeared from the school premises just before the morning interval. Nobody could believe when he was found hanging from a tree on the way to Sangaygang later that day.
The suicide note he had left for his friends on his Facebook wall doesn’t tell the whole story but one can sense that something was terribly wrong with him. He has written, “It is true that regret cums after action. I have done lots of mistake and i only recognise it today. But now i don’t have any option or ways to forgive my mistake. So all there’s left to do for me is to leave this world. So i would like to say bye bye to all my FB friends and a message to all is, don’t repeat the mistakes that I have done…. Take care.”
I am wondering what kind of mistake he was referring to. I heard that he had been fined by police Nu.15,000 for indulging in a fight with somebody else and that he didn’t have anybody to rely on for help. But definitely ending his life wasn’t a good idea to solve this issue. I wish if I could turn back the clock to save him.
Now how can we save our children and youth from meeting such a fate in the future? Every year, the number of youth committing suicide is increasing in Bhutan. The national newspaper Kuensel reports that according to police, about 104 people took their lives in Bhutan last year with 11 cases in Thimphu alone. I feel parents have the biggest role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their children. As a traditional, close-knit society, families in Bhutan have the greatest responsibility of creating a safe haven for their younger generations. But when the parents separate and the families become dysfunctional, children lose their world. It’s important to be concerned about the welfare of our children and give them support whenever necessary and genuine. Scolding and threatening them consistently would traumatize them further and that would push them even further to the edge of their problems. It won’t be helpful to cry after he or she is gone. If Tandin could have got full support from his family during this terrible situation, I feel he would have been still alive today. Anyway, may God bless him. I am still with his grieving family and friends in thoughts and prayers. May his soul rest in peace!