A sudden death leaves us grief stricken, yet a suicide evokes mixed feelings of grief, pain, and bewilderment. Vishal Tondon’s sudden demise leaves us with mixed feelings.
Vishal was a warm person, comfortable with himself, who had a good sense of humour, and could crackle someone up, in a good sort of a way. Vishal was a son, brother, uncle, artist, curator, critic, and learner. He used art queerly to critique ways through which we perceive and understand our world. His presence, engagement and support to queer initiatives in Hyderabad will be remembered. He was a PhD scholar at the Hyderabad Central University, and his writing reflected his hope for intersectional politics among queer people.
He chose to end his earthly life by jumping off the fourteenth floor of his apartment. His death evoked feelings of community among a lot of us, and hopefully we’d learn from this experience. May his soul live at peace. We also pray that his mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece, friends and loved ones be strong.
Here’s a poetical tribute by Avinash Matta:
The unfinished paintings sob,
Colors streaming down their sheets,
And the canvas stares blankly.
The unread books pray,
Folding their hands in reverence,
That you find the light.
The fifteen minutes
After your final email,
They wish to roll back in time.
The fourteen floors
That witnessed your anguish,
They stand lost in space.
We now see you
Wrapped in a white sheet,
Like an empty canvas.
We place flowers
For your last journey,
Like you had placed colors in our life.
We know why you did what you did,
We feel what you felt before you left,
Some of us also attempted what you attempted.
But we failed and we continue to live.
You succeeded and found your freedom,
Yet you say you couldn’t find success?
So many heart broken people,
So many wails, tears and sobs,
Yet you say you couldn’t find love?
We watch as they light the fire
And we burn along with you,
Our final hopes turning into ashes.
We, the broken links in the chain,
We hold our hands together and promise
That when your soul returns,
We’ll make this world a better place.
We’ll provide you a happy and joyful space.
We’ll gift you a life of love and success.
We promise that to you
And we promise this to us,
To the other links in the chain,
That we’ll stand up for each other,
However rough the tides of time may be,
We’ll stand up for each other!