January 30, 2666
I spent this morning sitting across the road from Assisted Suicide Center – a total of 8 hours. I reached there at 4 in the morning, and left at 12 for the workshop. Just one person walked into the center during my “visit”. It has been 2 years since the Assisted Suicide Law has been passed but only yesterday did this center become functional. On the first day of its life, 15 people used the free service provided there. 8 women and 7 men. One of them was the 35 year old rape survivor who dominated all the headlines about 6 months back. Everyone else was over 75.
The government has legislated a monopoly over suicide assistance. That is exactly why Sapur had to wait for so long for a functional ASC. The Assisted Suicide Law mandates that an ASC be established in every district headquarter across the nation. Out of the 702 districts in India, the government has managed to reach only 338 headquarters. A public private partnership would speed up the process considerably, but the government is hesitant to involve any private players.
Sapur Assisted Suicide Center has been located right in the heart of the city. Despite the sky-high realty prices, the government claims that this has been done so that everyone can reach the center with equal ease. Thanks to these centers, for the first time ever we have reliable data on suicides. Suicidal tendencies are being discussed openly, the taboo around depression is disappearing and proper treatment is being provided to tackle the same. Therapy is slowly becoming a part of our culture.
The third and concluding installment of my photoseries, Exits, will be about ASCs. Just like the first 2 installments – Doors and Coffins – this installment will have 200 photographs. The series would have photographs of Sapur’s and Megacity’s ASCs – and will explore the difference between the 2, including – of course – the greater crowds at Megacity. Much has been written about ASCs, but photographs are rare – still a taboo. Breaking this one will be fun.