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CCD founder V G Siddhartha’s suicide shook almost all of us, and it made this author wonder – what, exactly, is happiness, and how do we deal with troubles?
When the news of Café Coffee Day (CCD) Founder V G Siddhartha being missing trickled in, I didn’t get perturbed or give too much attention to it. It seemed like just another one of the long slew of negative news of the day. However it was heartbreaking in a way to read a copy of his letter to the employees and to the Board of Directors of Café Coffee Day.
Subsequent news and a post on LinkedIn about the same had me thinking. A person who started his business from scratch and made it a household name must have had his share of struggle in getting the business to where it was, and yet he took the drastic step of ending his life.
One look at his letter makes me assume that he seemed so level headed, who ensured that his family was not held responsible for his death or his liabilities, and yet he could not sort out the mess of his life.
It is very easy for us to be judgmental about someone else, more so when the person is no more there to defend himself or prove us wrong. So there may be those who feel that there could be something more to his death than meets the eye, yet it seems like a sad end to a distinguished and capable personality.
This incident raises two questions in my mind.
Firstly V G Siddhartha speaks about certain pressures in his letter. Assuming that his troubles didn’t spring up overnight, he must have been visibly stressed about it. For a person who had the mindfulness to write a letter to save his family from more trouble, he would have given enough thought about dying before actually doing so. Must it not have been obvious that he was troubled?
I wonder then that are we paying enough attention to our loved ones?
Are we there to listen to their troubles or are we just being fooled by the happiness on their faces?
Are we talking enough with each other, about our problems and about theirs too or are we too busy with our own priorities and schedules?
If we are already doing this then maybe we can call ourselves a happy family. But if not then maybe we need to start looking at those on the couch next to us, ‘see’ if all is really well. While it is important to share troubles it is equally important to ‘ask’ and ‘listen’. Sometimes all that someone needs is for anyone to listen and that could still make a difference. This may apply not only to our family but to our friends too. Our goals and targets can wait but a loved one who is struggling with his/her thoughts and life may not.
My next thought is V G Siddhartha had fame, money, respect, a successful business, though of late riddled with issues, a happy family, fulfilled dreams, and a life that would be an envy of many. As a matter of fact, his life may well be an inspiration to a few. Yet he felt ‘pressured’ to give up on all this.
What is it then that makes one want to be happy about one’s life? In his case he had everything yet he didn’t seem happy to live any longer.
The learning that I would like to take from his life is that it may not be about material possessions, even about a happy family but more about one’s own happiness. That could be out of anything, pursuing a dream, doing something that one loves to do or simply being there for others and deriving happiness out of it.
Maybe it also means that when someone is unhappy about things in life, he/she needs to step back and take a look at what is the cause of this dissatisfaction from life?
Maybe it is ok to step back and say ‘I cannot handle it anymore and I need a break’, or to say ‘this is not what I want to do but something else’ and move on towards that, or to say that ‘I will fulfill my responsibilities but I need my space to do what I want to do’, or to say that ‘I don’t know what to do and I need help’ and to seek help when the burden of life seems too much.
It is ok to accept failure and cry on account of it, because failure is not taboo or a curse, it is a part of the learning process.
As an adage goes ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’. Whether you are a person fulfilling the responsibilities towards the family, or one doing it for the employees, or even working for the society at large, it is important to take care of yourself first.
Maybe doing what you love to do, taking a break to escape monotony or even going on a lesser known route to fulfill the dreams. After all, what could be more valuable than one’s own life?
A person who is gone leaves a vacuum that may never be filled. It pays to be mindful of troubles and negative feelings in our lives. I am not an expert on human emotions, psychology, and behaviour, and this piece is more of an emotional response to the whole episode. As they say, we don’t need to make all the mistakes ourselves, we could learn from others too. So maybe it is time to introspect, talk, listen or simply take a break.
Meanwhile RIP V G Siddhartha, you founded something which always seemed like a happy place to be in. Wish you could have had a happy ending too. May you find the same in heaven.
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A homemaker, a freelance writer who loves to travel and has a passion for reading.
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