Dark Side

Adithya Sharma

What is self-destruction? Do the choices we make, which set our life on fire, feel like self-destructive? To be honest it is hard to tell; opting for one choice, of the ones available to us, in a strenuous situation might turn out to be catastrophic. We all have been through different sorts of phases where we wish to return back in time and make better choices for ourselves.

Here’s a story of a boy dealing with the dilemma of how his choices which set him on the path of self-destruction.
It was 6 years ago when Adithya stepped outside his house for the first time, without his parents’ supervision, since his childhood. He was just a naive boy of 14 years who was filled with inquisitiveness, perceiving the world and his surroundings from his parents’ eyes; but the irony took him by surprise when he saw (the irony was) that the reality was in contrast to his borrowed perspective. He used to believe and trust people easily. But now, when he was experiencing the world on his own, it didn’t seem so; people seemed to care just about themselves. He was making a lot of friends at school and outdoors, but the reality was always striking for him every time he thought so; as time revealed to him that people were two-faced when he interacted with them. This proved to be a chain reaction which seemed to decide the course of his fate, even in his inner world (home) and the world outside.
Adithya was a single child who was immensely pampered and overprotected by his parents. This pampering, though it didn’t seem so then, turned out to be a torment for him because he lacked the confidence to have a conversation with anyone, even while talking to the people closest to him.

He thought that it was hard for him to cope with the world by himself. He kept thinking over and over again about these things. When he wasn’t able do things as his peers, it started to make him feel inferior to them. Adithya’s faith in him was faltering every day because he kept on compiling every instance where someone made him feel inferior, and buried it deep within himself.
You see, it is difficult what to comprehend from the outside world, especially when it is from the point of view of a child. When a child experiences the world himself, his upbringing plays a major role in what to take in from the world around them.
From a tender age of just 10 years Adithya was fascinated by seeing people smoking, the fashion of it and its artistic portrayal in the movies, but he was never driven to try it at that time. While indulging in and abusing substances a person feeds himself with reasons to rationalize the need to take it. Similarly, with the passing of years, he also had reasons to give a try to the things he fantasised about.
One of the reasons were, he used to feel that the fostering technique applied by his parents was barbaric. His childhood memories consisted of severe beatings by his father even for the smallest of mistakes. It wasn’t at all that his father didn’t love him, but it was the only way he could come up with for correcting the mistakes. His mother, seemingly helpless, used to act as a mediator between him and his father but many times she failed because of Adithya’s rebellious nature and a certain wild streak that always took over him. The scene that followed such altercations used to be like a police interrogation. This occurrence was recurrent with at least two to three encores in a week; he used to commit mistakes and always tried to cover them up with his extremely innovative lies. Firstly, the lies were just to get away with misdeeds but soon it developed into a habit. He started to lie every now and then and used to get caught in the act later. His parents were exasperated because of his lies and wanted him to start telling the truth but they chose the hard way to make the amends. Instead of understanding their intentions, he chose to see them as his adversary.

He always used to contemplate that when that moment would come where he would be understood by his parents. All this beatings and quarrels altered his behaviour in many ways, before he used to smile a lot and talked very much to everyone; he kept staying upset about his deeds. An outburst of feelings engulfed him whenever he was not being appreciated for any of the things which he did, whether be it his passion for music or sports.

Adithya was in 8th standard when his days of daze started; it was the same time when he was out alone experiencing and experimenting with things. In his city of Bhopal, there was a trend amongst the teenagers to party and live a fast life. Whoever used to excel in this extreme kind of life were considered to be the leaders of our community of youngsters. In the initial stages, Adithya was just too innocent to understand the whole structure of how one can be a part of the “Party Animal” community. He had reasons which were impelling him to give it a try. It was the season of fall and he smoked his first cigarette after a birthday party, instead of being forced by someone else, he was driven by his own desires. This was his first endeavour with it. Few months passed and he was moved to 9th standard and it was the year 2015. The current trend was at a whole different level. Now the people who were into drinking and doing drugs were supposedly considered “Cool” and were known to be eccentric amongst teenagers of the city. He met a few people who were amateurs in these activities and started drinking and smoking cigarettes frequently. Gradually this habit advanced and became an addiction. Drugs were still a big deal for him as everyone, even the ones who did it, used to warn him about the addiction and always he agreed with them and always assured everyone that he will not be one of those who would be a drug addict.
Since his childhood he was good and courteous with everybody but people used to take advantage of his decency. He used to get bullied and made fun of by others. This was another issue of his on which people misjudged him and that further led to preconceived notions about him.
He came to know his friends of friends who used to smoke marijuana and started to forge a bond with them. In the same year he got introduced to marijuana too. The first trip was a nightmare for him because he blacked out for 6 to 7 hours. In that moment he thought that this may not be the thing for him. He abstained from it completely until a few weeks later when he met the same set of friends and was asked to join them on a school bunk. They were his seniors and seemed a little mature than him. They offered him to smoke weed again and he even tried but found himself incapable to do so because of the past experience. His friends made fun of him for being scared of just a fucking joint. This particular experience was pressing for him as he did not want to feel inferior in this situation as well. This led to his transformation into becoming this “party animal” he was always fascinated with.
When he was turning into this party animal he felt a sense of belonging, as the ones with whom he was sitting with appreciated him. This appreciation and the compassion towards him were hugely entertained by Adithya because after a long time he was able to share his thoughts and laugh openly with his friends while being high.
For a long time things were kept a secret from the parents and Adithya was having a great time, according to him. One day his father came to know about his habit of smoking cigarettes to which he again reacted by beating the shit out of him.
There were many similar and reoccurring moments where this same thing happened.
His father used to ask him every time that he was addicted to cigarettes to which he always replied “no”, just to not extend the scene.
At this time he was in the midst of his 10th standard education and these repeated confrontations remoulded Adithya and he was always low and sad because of it. All this created a void in his mind and in that void he kept contemplating about all those hard and embarrassing moments and that made him hate himself.

You see, when a person is self-criticizing for everything, the chances are higher that he might drift into depression. In Adithya’s case it happened and he didn’t even realize when he slipped into depression as it was alien for him. But, soon he realized that he is not doing well mentally, so to treat the mental stress, he started smoking weed more extensively. Earlier it was just a couple in a week but later it became 4 to 5 joints a day. Depression was the best of the reasons to justify for the abuse of the substances. He started to use drugs such as marijuana, MDMA, LSD, etc, also within no time and got addicted to them. His parents were completely in the dark about his substance abuse. A boy of just 15 years of age was doing drugs and being unaware of the facts of how lethal the consumption of it can be. What was more problematic was his depression which was compelling him to do all these things, but he was not even able to share the condition of his mental health with anyone. He was a fighter since the beginning as he fought with the bullies and the judgements. Every day he hoped that his condition will be better but nothing changed. There was always a thought that he had to get out of this void which he was in; he couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that even though these drugs were deteriorating his condition, they allowed him to him to introspect deeper. Introspection played a major role in uplifting Adithya’s mental health. He came out of that phase in the same year but to stop using the substances it took him 3 more years. It also gave him a chance to reconnect better again with his parents.
There are two situations while a person is addicted- first is that you would go with the flow and it will end your life and the second is the addiction will make you realize what all things you are messing up.

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