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‘The Story of a Suicide’ is an e-book with visuals, music and an audio book option.
‘The Story of a Suicide’ is an e-book with visuals, music and an audio book option.

The story of a suicide

Sriram Ayer's 'The Story of a Suicide' reaches out to the youth by giving a voice to their struggles, challenges and experiences

Bengaluru: It begins with a suicide note—a gut-wrenching, desperate letter, devoid of even the slightest bit of hope, “In this novel, a young person decided to commit suicide," explained Chennai-based Sriram Ayer, author of The Story of a Suicide, a fictional account of suicide among Indian youth.

According to Ayer, “India has one of the highest suicide rates in the world and one out of three of these suicides are committed by young people between the age of 15 and 29," he said, adding that his own good friend tried to kill herself four years ago. Luckily enough, she survived and is doing well today, but it was a traumatic experience that shook him up considerably, confessed Ayer, who runs the NalandaWay Foundation, a non-profit that works with economically backward children helping them find a voice through theatre, visual arts, music, dance, radio and films, “My work at NaladaWay where I interact with hundreds of youngsters helped me understand the challenges faced by them. So I felt that there is an urgency to share their stories," said Ayer.

The book, in an e-book format with visuals, music and an audio book option, aims to reach out to young people by verbalizing their struggles, attempts to help them navigate through life’s challenges and provides a platform to share their experiences, said Ayer, adding that most of the incidents in the novel are inspired from true events, which he had witnessed personally or had read in the media.

Besides this, he spent a considerable time understanding the behaviours and motivations of young people. For instance, “Cyber-bullying is widely-rampant among young people and many are involved in it for sadistic pleasure. I had the opportunity to spend time with an ethical hacking group who helped me understand the enormity of the situation," he says.

As the book also touches on youth sexuality, Ayer also wanted to learn how gay men date in a society that imposes legal and religious curbs, “I met with gay men who were open about their sexuality and others who had still not come-out," he said, adding that he also spent an evening with transgenders in Mumbai, “They were all heart and quite a riot too," he said.

Ayer is now in talks with directors/producers, for this novel to be made into a movie. On future plans he said that he plans to write more but he hasn’t decided on the specifics. “I will make up my mind after this campaign," he signed off.

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