India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates. According to WHO data, the suicide rate in India (age-standardised) is 16.4 per 100,000 for women (6th highest in the world) and 25.8 for men (ranking 22nd), and it is quite unfortunate that a large percentage is made up of the youth and particularly, students.
While mental health continues to remain a stigma in the country, the fact that this percentage is only increasing due to various reasons, ranging from impossible academic pressure to the feeling of being unable to match up to societal standards, is indeed a cause of worry.
An 18-year-old girl in Mumbai would have been yet another statistic in this regard, had it not been for the serendipitous presence of Syed Nasser Hussain, a resident of Deonar, which is a suburb in the city.
And there is a peculiar twist as well—Hussain managed to save her life twice!
On Monday night, 43-year-old Hussain was heading home after closing his plumbing material store in Vashi, when he saw a ‘well-dressed’ young girl preparing to jump into the creek from the nearby bridge.
Every passing second was critical as the class 12 student had already climbed over the railing to end her life. Wasting no time, he dropped his bike and dashed just in time to grab the girl before she took the deadly plunge.
He then spent the next six hours counselling and comforting the girl, whose parents were at a hospital, as her mother had fallen ill. During their conversation, Hussain found out that the girl hadn’t quite recovered from heartbreak, and that is why she wanted to end her life.
While she was initially unwilling to reveal her address, she finally gave in, and at midnight, Hussain dropped her off at her home in Mankhurd.
Hussain asked a neighbour to keep an eye on her, and left, but couldn’t shake off the feeling that she would harm herself. Just to be sure, he went back to her home to check up on her and realised that his intuition was correct—he kept ringing the doorbell, to no avail.
Together with neighbours, Hussain managed to break the door open and found the girl hanging from the ceiling fan. Fortunately, they were just in time, and after a few minutes of artificial resuscitation, the girl was rushed to the nearest hospital.
The doctors, who were on her case, mentioned that the girl is now stable and recuperating well. Hussain even visited the girl twice after the incident.
“I have had long conversations with her dad. She needs to be taken care of. I have told him he must support her to complete her education. She must grow into a confident woman who does not see unfaithfulness of a man as the end of the world,” he told Mumbai Mirror.
This is not the first time Hussain has saved someone from ending their life. In fact, on two previous occasions in last two years, he saved two young girls from jumping to death on the very same bridge, in the nick of time.
In this time of general apathy and aloofness, Syed Nasser Hussain stands out as a rare human being, for whom a stranger’s predicament and distress went above his comfort and need to return home after work.
“Had he not been there, I would have lost my daughter. He saved her twice I can’t thank him enough,” the father of the girl said.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)