Ketan Tanna meets a bunch of youngsters who congregate to share their experiences on broken relationships, homicidal tendencies and more
The wind chimes sway gently in the background. In a spacious room in an upmarket building near the Juhu-Andheri link road, nine young persons have come together to form what is the first support group for troubled teenagers and youngsters in Mumbai.
Twenty-six-year-old Roger Dâ€™souza, a dark, good-looking young man from Bandra, is one of them. Last year, this ex-shippie got into drugs and even attempted suicide because of what he hesitantly calls a â€œrelationship problemâ€™â€™.
â€œWhen I split with my girlfriend, I was shattered,â€™â€™ he tells the roomful of youngsters. â€œI thought life was not worth living without her. The night we separated, I decided to end my life. I arranged for sleeping tablets and swallowed 30 of them. But maybe God had other plans for me. Later in the wee hours of the morning, I called my girlfriend and told her what I had done, and she rushed me to hospital. I had nobody to talk with about what I was going through. I could not share my emotional pain with anyone. Not even my parents because they were not happy with my relationship. But I am out of it now, and hopefully this group that I am a part of will help me reach out to people of my age who have problems in their life.â€™â€™
The idea to launch the group came to psychiatrist Anjali
Chhabria when one of her young patients causally told her one day that he had thought of killing someone. â€œWhen I asked him why, he said it would make him famous,â€™â€™ she relates. â€œI realised then that many youngsters, whose interaction with parents and friends is limited, need help. What they need is company and interaction with their own age group or people who can relate to their problems.â€™â€™
Every one of the nine youngsters assembled on this rainy Saturday morning has his own reason for joining the group. Twentyseven-year-old Sushil Jaiswal, who was educated in Britain and is helping his father in business, could not adjust to his family or his group of friends after he came back. â€œUnlike my friends, my concept of having a good time is not getting high, doing drugs and clubbing week in and week out,â€™â€™ he says. â€œI felt out of place with my friends whom I have known since college. Initially, I did join them but I wasnâ€™t able to keep up this hedonistic lifestyle.â€™â€™ One thing lead to another, and soon Sushil was trapped in a vortex of depression because he found himself alone and unable to speak his mind. His relationship with some friends ended. And that is when he started seeing a psychiatrist.Itâ€™s been a year since Sushil has come to terms with his depression and his relationship problem with his family. â€œMy idea of joining this support group is simple. Meet people who have had problems similar to mine and maybe make new friends,â€™â€™ he smiles when asked about why he chose to join the group. Every person in the group has a tale to tell. Pankaj Bose, 17, a studious-looking youngster from Powai, when asked what his strong point is, says nonchalantly, â€œI am bright and smart.â€™â€™ Smart he is, but this youngster could neither adjust to his new upmarket school nor deal with high expectations from his parents who want their son in the IIT. â€œIt was a kind of culture shock for me,â€™â€™ he says. â€œMy previous school was very different, a very secular school, where all students came from a middle class background and had a different attitude towards studies. In my new school, it is cool to experiment with drugs and drink. Not that I have a problem with such classmates. I just keep off. I hope I can get some guidance and meet some cool people here,â€™â€™ he smiles at the group. Sitting a little distance away is a shy 15-year-old called Nitin Shah who doesnâ€™t talk much. TNN