A distant cousin brother, but very dear friend of mine died recently. It wasn’t a road accident or a suicide. The death was due to drowning, but he was dead a long time before he drowned in that lake.
Manoj was one of the sweetest guys I have come across, simple, innocent and simply “nice”. His family is perhaps one of the sweetest collections of people I know. His Dad a leading businessman in Singapore and his mom a simple and a unassuming woman from my moms hometown. Their house is a happy place with none of the trappings of the ultra rich. The parents remained ordinary middle class folks inspite of my Uncles immense success in business. The children, all 8 of them are down to earth simple girls and boys, who perhaps are not even aware that they are rich. They are one of those families who don’t seem to be affected by money.
Manoj the eldest son, was a brilliant student who went on a scholarship to one of those Ivy League schools. He finished top of the batch and was soon selected into one of the leading companies in New York. The first year of work was hectic and the stress immense. Soon the stress affected his brain making him behave irrationally from time to time. The doctors diagnosed the condition as a stress related disorder. Apparently it is not so uncommon in todays high stress working environments. There was no cure though the behaviour could be managed by medication. But Manoj was disabled for life. Though he looked and behaved like a normal human being and recognised all of us and seemed perfectly alright, he was prone to walk off from home and forget his whereabouts. His parents bought him back to Bangalore and he was admitted to an institution run by the Jesuits on the outskirts of Bangalore for such rare cases. One day he walked out of the institution, slipped on the banks of a lake and drowned.
What we learnt during his illness was that the high stress life that we are leading these days can make anyone of us a victim of this eventuality. It may be not so serious as in Manoj’s case, but damage due to a high stress life is insidious and silent. It may end up as something else altogether like forgetfulness, infertility etc and may never be identified as a fallout of stress.
Simply put...man was made to till the soil and reap the harvest and be content with it and not meet tight deadlines and targets. And what is worse, no company will compensate you if you fall victim to job related stress disorder. It is not even recognised as a workplace hazard and till it is recognised as a workplace hazard you and me will live in constant danger of becoming victims.