Right slant in handwriting shows the writer is thoroughly guided by feelings and emotions. Sometimes, they overstep the limits and become emotional blackmailers too
I don’t remember the date, but I distinctly remember that evening in December 2006. A regular busy day in the newsroom at Mumbai Mirror where I worked. Our crime reporter, Danish Khan, walked up to me with a sheet of paper and said: “Here is the suicide story.”
I instantly checked the news list for the day. Danish’s story was not on it. “It [the suicide] happened a few hours ago,” Danish told me.
I read the story. It was about a 25-something girl who had committed suicide by jumping off a multistoried building in South Mumbai. She did not reside there. Her boyfriend lived there with his family.
She killed herself because the guy had not reciprocated her romantic overtures. The girl was from an affluent family and she had just returned from the US after completing her studies.
According to the story, she met the guy when he came to her house as an interior designer. She liked him. Initially, he reciprocated. But later, he pulled out. The news report did not say why. The girl did not like the change. She was not willing to accept his decision and kept on persuading him to reconsider it. But he was adamant.
That day too she had gone to his house with the same request. But he refused to budge. She cried there for some time and then suddenly went to the terrace and stood atop a railing. She started screaming out his name. Several people crowded around the building, looking up and asking her to climb down. Police were called. They also tried to persuade her into changing her mind. But she did not listen to anyone. She stayed there for some time. God knows what she was thinking as she stood there. Maybe she did not want to die. Maybe she was not sure what she wanted to do. And then suddenly, she lost balance and…
“Bastard,” I muttered even as I edited the story. “He could have stopped her! Where was that son of a…? What was he doing?”
Nobody in the newsroom was listening to my outburst. I felt bad for the woman. I believed she could have been saved if the guy had not given up on her. I believed he should not have given up on her. I believed he should have made her understand his situation…
The report was edited, sent onto the page and it was there in the paper the following morning with a big picture of the building from which she jumped off.
When I saw it, I again thought the girl could have been saved. The guy should have made some efforts to do that. I don’t know why I was thinking so much about the incident though I was in no way connected to it.
The story ended there. Like any other suicide story in a newspaper. I did not know how right or wrong I was in my opinion about that guy who I thought could have surely done something to avert the tragedy.
About a year later, I discovered that probably there was very little he could have done to stop her. Do you think I met the guy? No, I did not; actually, I faced the same situation which he did. Yes, you heard me.
I can never forget that traumatic evening. Frozen to the last bone, I stood on the road talking over phone to this girl on the terrace of a 15-storey building right in front of me. What was she doing there? She was threatening to jump off. Why? Because she had certain expectations from me which I was unable to fulfil — for anything whatsoever.
“If I don’t get what I want, I will make sure that you fall into trouble. My mobile call records will reveal I was talking to you before I jumped off…” That’s what she kept on telling me over phone even as I shivered like a dry leaf in that windy evening. For about 40 minutes, I was tortured. It was bad. It was probably worse than death. It was a kind of fear I had never experienced in my life.
Standing on the scantily-crowded stretch, I watched her and listened to every thing she said. On the phone, I could feel that the gush of the strong wind on the terrace was deadly. In a way it perhaps threatened to blow me away. That evening was crucial; it could have changed the course of my life.
Not knowing what do, I just tried to convince her into coming down. I requested her. She declined. I begged. She refused. Over and over again. I was helpless. What could have I done? I tried to be firm with her. But it did not work either.
Finally, prudence and sanity advised me to agree to her demands. At least for the moment. I did that despite knowing that I won’t be able keep my words in this case. At last, she came down and I walked away. Yeah, she did not jump off. Maybe she did not want to. But was I sure about it? No.
A few more dramatic things happened between us after that. I choose not to discuss them here because they are irrelevant. Soon, I cut off from her completely. I kicked her out of my life. I had no respect left for her. I did not want her anywhere near me. She got the message clearly that there was no way she could have her way with me. She also moved on after some time. That was when I realised that the guy whose girlfriend committed suicide from his building could have done very little to prevent her.
That day I decided that I will be extremely careful with people who wrote with the kind of handwriting slant she had. Extreme right (click on the facsimile handwriting sample above).
If the writer also has a completely connected writing, she will say: “If you love me, you will do this for me. And if you don’t do this, it means you don’t love me.”
I must add here that just the extreme right slant alone was not responsible for the lack of emotional control she exhibited from time to time. Her handwriting also had those temper strokes (shown by t-bar mostly on the right side of the stem with a sharp ending), which sent her over the edge frequently, sometimes literally. Her handwriting also showed that her own worthiness in her eyes was determined by the value of things that she possessed. Loss of security in life sent her in a tizzy because of which she felt worthless and saw no point in living.
Under emotional pressure, such writers lose their cool and throw around stuff in the house. One such writer I know slashed her wrist just because her parents did not buy her the clothes she wanted.
I know you want to ask me why I got myself into this situation despite knowing so much about her handwriting. The only answer I have is: I made a mistake. I overlooked a few things. Handwriting never lies. Be careful.
Ok. I have to stop you because it seems you have turned too serious reading this piece. I believe it’s a part of life, and I am glad it’s over now. I learnt my lesson. I have moved on. I can only laugh over it now. So, don’t be surprised if any mention of the subject on your part when you meet me in person sends me into delirious laughter. I am a survivor.