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Why do I Think Depression is the Lifestyle for Vulnerable?

Prelude

Hello everyone, how are you? I know what you are thinking after reading this article. Let me clear the clouds for you. This is neither a political article nor it is written keeping any one particular group in mind. This piece is a story of 2 people living two distinct lives in our society. Their background is quite different from each other. They have different priorities and different economical backgrounds.   

A lot of things are going around us lately. For example, the COVID pandemic and its aftermaths, lockdown situation in certain areas, the sudden death of some of our favorite celebrities, paid media outlets, tensions at the border with China. Recently, India saw a dramatic demise of its favorite star, Sushant Singh Rajput. The engineer, astrophysics enthusiast, and an actor who gave memorable performances to the film industry in India committed suicide on 14th June 2020. According to a press release, NITI Aayog, the policy think-tank of the Indian government, signed him to promote the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP). The primary reason for his suicide is said to be depression.

In this article, I am going to narrate diverse experiences of 2 unrelated, hypothetical human beings. Ankit, 35, is an aspiring author, and Sushil, 33, is a daily wage worker with 1.5 acres of arable land. I am quite sure that you will be able to relate them to the people around you. I am going to take the help of certain parameters to validate my argument- why do I think depression is the lifestyle for vulnerable?

What is Depression?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. However, depression is curable.

I am enlisting 4 parameters that I would want you to use for judging 2 scenarios. These happen to be symptoms of depression as well.

  1. Feeling sad or lack of interest
  2. Changes in appetite
  3. Loss of energy
  4. Feeling worthless or guilty

Story of Ankit

Ankit is a 35 years old working IT professional who aspires to be an author someday. He lives in Bangalore and has one beautiful baby girl. His parents are not dependent upon him and own two hotels in their hometown. Obviously, Ankit is an avid reader and draws inspiration from Dan Brown and Lee Child. To tell you the truth, he has envisioned himself to be a successful writer since his college days. He managed to publish 2 books until now, which did not bring him expected recognition.

Since last year, he’s been trying hard to get his new crime thriller published. He has gone to 14 publishers till now, all of whom have shown him doors. He has put a major portion of his savings in his passion till now. All these circumstances are hampering his corporate as well as personal life.

Story of Sushil

Sushil is a 33-year-old daily wage worker. He has 1.5 acres of arable land which he got from his parents as they are not able to do physical work in their land. His land is completely dependent upon monsoon. He has 2 beautiful children. He with his family of 5 lives together just outside of the village, Sitapur. 70 percent of India’s rural households still depend primarily on agriculture, with 82 percent of farmers being small and marginal.

Last year, Sushil managed to get one seasonal crop during monsoon seasons. Many banks and co-operative societies rejected his loan application at the time which he required to buy crop seeds and farm equipment. He borrowed money from a big money lender in his village and promised to 2 percent monthly interest (which turns out to be 24 percent per annum. Bank’s average agriculture loan interest rate is 12-13% per annum).   

Due to heavy rains, he was not able to get the expected yield from his land. He along with his wife started working in the lender’s larger irrigated farm during the rabi season. Part of their earnings goes to the lender as interest towards the loan and with the remaining money, they somehow manage to get food for all 6 members. Two square meals are off their routine. A few months back, during Diwali, Sushil took some more money from the same lender without his wife’s knowledge. He wanted to buy some new clothes for the children and his wife.

Conclusion

The stories that you read are based on facts. If we critically analyze Ankit and Sushil are standing on the same point. I want to reiterate the four parameters that I enlisted above.

  1. Feeling sad or lack of interest
  2. Changes in appetite
  3. Loss of energy
  4. Feeling worthless or guilty

Both of them are experiencing the same feelings.  Even if Ankit is depressed, he has his family and friends to support him. None of his family members are dependent only on him for survival and he probably has access to the best quality treatments.

On the other hand, Sushil’s family has no other source of income. According to the above four parameters, he is most likely to be depressed. It is easy for us to analyze and talk about it, but I am sure that people like Sushil do not have time to even think about all this.

Today, 85 percent of poor households are dependent upon the informal sector (private money lenders) for loans. On the contrary, 90 percent of rich households can avail loans from the formal sector (Banks, financial institutions, etc.). A lot of initiatives are being taken by the government to reduce this economical gap. reducing this gap will only facilitate the bigger goal of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. All of us are small building stones of greater India. If we help each other then and then only India, as a whole, will emerge as a true leader.

We have so many Sushil around us. Identify them, and do whatever you can. Every step counts. I would like to end this article on a beautiful quote:

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

– Scott Adams

I would love to listen to your thoughts on this topic. If you like this article, please do not hesitate to share it in your peer group.

Cover Image Courtesy – Listen to Money Matters

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Kedar Karande
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