• Dhriti Agrawal

On the Edge

Ever heard of the phrase, "you're on the edge"?


I am 25 and I have. Multiple times, over and over again. You are on the edge of losing control, being the most often one that I hear. But right now, I am standing on the edge.


People have always been a part, more like a big determinant, of my life. Like everybody else's. That doesn’t include my family though. They are not dead, if you are thinking that. When I was 6, they just gave me up to an orphanage, because I was a ‘burden’ on their financial conditions. I know this through a lot of whispers, mocking and a memory. My warden is a honey like-person, she has the perfect amount of sweetness. Once when I insisted, she told me why she took me in even when my parents were alive. They came to her door in a hurry, left me there and she knew that she couldn't leave a child of that age alone. The part that she didn’t tell me, but I remember distinctly, is my mother shouting, ‘She is too much of a burden and we don’t have the money to take care of her'. I thought I had made this up in my mind because of all the whispers, until I overheard my warden once when she was talking to a family who had come to decide if they wanted to adopt me. Obviously, they didn’t. I also ended up finding my parents online. Ironically, they have a huge business and I have a brother too. I wondered for a while why they didn’t come back for me, but then it all became ancient history and I stopped caring about it. So why am I standing on the edge? It's not because of my family, an ex boyfriend or friends. It's because of a group of strangers.


Start at the beginning, talk about what happened, practically analyse it, you will feel better,’ my psychiatrist often said to me. So, I’ll start at the beginning. It was a day filled with tragedies, just like my life all along. I have dealt with a lot of issues, but never in my life have I had so much happen to me in one day. I woke up to find out that my boyfriend was cheating on me (not with my best friend, like a cliché movie). Maybe he would have been if I had any real friends. I liked isolating myself, especially in certain situations. My therapist used to say that it wasn’t the best technique to deal with a problem, but I didn’t care about it today –after-all he was the only human being I talked to over 5 years.


After successfully dodging all the calls from my warden, and a long walk, I finally found a perfectly silent spot to sit. Only, it wasn’t so perfect. A while after, a group of students walked by, all drunk and drugged. Nothing I haven’t seen or done before. They invited me over (my guess being - because I was sitting alone and no one likes to think that someone genuinely wants to be alone). After a while of insisting and denying on the definition of fun, I agreed. I don’t do drugs anymore though, it never did me any good. The only friend that I had, died because she OD’d, and that was the last time I even touched drugs. But don’t feel bad for me. It was a long time ago. I was just 15. This group was a fun bunch, enjoying music, the cold breeze, the bonfire – honestly it was a little too happy for me at that moment, but it was good to realise that people still believed in laughing and hanging out together. The singer of their group, Ayaan, was the youngest among them and sang beautifully. Like every other group, there was a cliché couple not able to keep their hand off each other too. The night was surprisingly turning out to be pleasant. It was a cold night and around 8 PM I realised I needed to use the loo, so I went to find one, only to come back and see the dead bodies of all those students. Actually, let me rewind a little.


I went to use a washroom. It wasn’t far away from the spot when I started hearing a lot of screaming. I came back and hid behind a tree when I saw a man arguing with those kids. Apparently all of them played a very stupid, but equally dangerous, prank on him and stole his drugs. He was asking for the money (it was a lot), but obviously they didn’t have any. They were telling him that they can’t pay that much and were trying to calm him down when he threatened them that he would take one of them with him as leverage for the money, if they didn’t give it. Ayaan became angry and was about to come at him, when the man pulled out a gun and shot him in the head. For a moment, it was as if everything in front of me was dark and still. Everyone else became so restless and scared after that. They started screaming. It was chaotic, and when the man got angrier, he shouted and within a blink of an eye, he shot everyone else. I stood there, still and scared like a coward doing nothing, when he saw me, gave me a deadly look, came to me, put the gun in my hand and left. I know I wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger but I feel responsible for all of it because I didn't do anything to help. Maybe there was nothing I could do, but what if I ran and got help. I knew how dirty the drug dealing business can get, I still didn’t do anything for them. It is difficult to think straight now. It is one thing to lose someone, a whole another to see a bunch of people die in front of your eyes, be partly responsible for it and even be a possible suspect for a mass murder. I didn't wanna get caught, and there were multiple ways this could go. Either the man could get a hold of me, or I could get caught by the police, or if nothing else, my own thoughts. I already had the fear of getting caught but I don’t think I could survive any of this.


So here I am, losing control, standing on the edge, thinking if it's better to lose myself in the waves of the strong sea rather than losing myself in my own deadly emotions, hoping that it’s just a nightmare. Even when it's not.


Finally, I started at the beginning, talked about it and the next step would be to practically analyse it. Everything for me now depends on one simple question - Can I? What do you think?


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