The day my life changed forever.
The day my husband Dr. T.R. Murali well known urologist in Madurai, died of suicide. Until then, suicide—the S word—was something that happened to others. I had read about celebrity suicides in media coverage, a few friends whose family members had died of suicide, preferred not to talk about it; gloss over the death; hide it in the closet’ or attribute the death to “natural” causes.
Brilliant, bright and bold, Dr. Murali had studied in some of the most prestigious medical colleges in the country—JIPMER, Maulana Azad Medical College and AIIMS. Regarded as one of the best urologists in the country, Dr. Murali’s expertise in andrology, paediatric urology and renal transplantation (of which he had successfully performed more than 15,000) was legendary. He was unanimously acknowledged by his peers and students as a “phenomenal clinician and a gifted surgeon.”
Murali was the fulcrum of my life. I felt bereft and adrift like driftwood… tossed and turned already in the eddies, whirl pools and abyss of the turbulent ocean of grief. My transition to a survivor of suicide loss had just begun.
I am no stranger to stigma and discrimination as I work with some of the most stigmatized and marginalized communities. Yet as soon as I discovered Murali’s body and had to announce his death, I was overcome with a deep sense of shame and remorse. What would I tell my family and friends? Wont they judge me and Murali?
In those precious moments, before the world descended on me, when only Murali’s body and I were all alone at home, I made a conscious choice to SPEAK. I decided that Truth must be told; I had to SPEAK up; to talk about suicide; to create informed spaces for conversations on suicide…. Because somebody HAD to do it. And that somebody would be Me.
If I chose to remain silent about suicide, especially as I had been forever impacted by it, wouldn’t I also be contributing to the stigma, secrecy, shame and silence?
So, I decided to be the change I wished to see in the world…
Dr. Nandini Murali
Dr. Nandini Murali is a feminist and a gender and diversity professional. She is an author who also provides technical support in communications for the social sector. When she is not working, she heads off to the forests with her camera. Currently, she has a magnificent obsession with photographing leopards!