Monday, October 6, 2008

Sobering, indeed.

I was perusing the news on Yahoo tonight and a headline caught my eye "6 die in family murder-suicide in upscale LA home". I lived in Santa Monica for about 13 years and knew quite a few folks in upscale homes so I clicked on the link and read the article. As I read the article, I scanned for the name of the people involved. There was no name but as I read the work details naming Price Waterhouse and Sony Pictures, I turned to Keith and said there was a good chance that I had been acquainted with the gunman. (Like many places, LA is big at first glance, but once you get into certain circles, it's a pretty small town.) About 30 minutes passed and the story was updated. My eyes were drawn to the name, Karthik Rajaram. It was one of those surreal moments when the news moves from there to here at supersonic speed. All of a sudden I got a clear mental picture of Karthik in the PW offices (no C at that time) excited about his second son's birth and explaining to us the significance of his son's name. Ganesha, in honor of Lord Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles and Lord of Beginnings. When he died on Saturday, Karthik's son Ganesha was only 12. To add more significance, in numerology 12 is the number of what is completed.

I cannot pretend to know why this tragedy occurred, or why Karthik felt he had no other options. I do know that Karthik was proud of his family and was committed to successfully providing for them. I also know that I saw moments of fear in his eyes that were covered up with intellectual bravado. Even on that day he was overjoyed at his son's birth, the fear was still there. He felt validated for having another son, yet knew that the proving had just begun. Apparently, it all became too much and it ended Saturday night in an upscale home just north of LA.

I think this story struck me for another reason as well. With what Keith and I have experienced this year, I have been made acutely aware of how thin the thread can be that binds us to this world. We create constructs such as friends, family and other emotional or physical commitments in the hope that they will keep us grounded and engaged in our own life. Keith has said that one of the reasons he didn't succomb to those near-death moments is because he knew he had to live now that he had a wife. That was an emotional commitment that overrode any other fears he may have had. Keith chose to live despite institutional care that put him at serious risk and, seemingly, would have been just fine if he had slipped away. The institution is not moved by individual desires and once you know that, you know what you must do to survive.

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