I've often wondered why people kill themselves. Years ago, the wife of a colleague of mine in the petroleum industry first threw her four daughters from the fifth floor, then jumped to her death. A psychiatrist had warned her husband not to make her pregnant again, as she had not been able to produce a male child. Her husband asked the mullah of the neighborhood mosque, who told him that all women want to get pregnant even if they already have ten children. The poor woman again gave birth to a female (her fifth child) and decided to end her life, as she couldn't bear the taunts of her in-laws who assumed that it was her fault for not producing a son.

Yesterday a 48-year old man whom my family had known since he was a child killed himself. No one knows why he did so. He had had stomach cancer some years back but had recovered after surgery. He may have been suffering from depression. His wife, who belonged to family friends of ours, didn't want to live in Karachi, as most of her cousins and aunts lived in Canada. He was a successful businessman, his father a billionaire, so it couldn't have been poverty that caused him to kill himself. But it was a senseless death all the same.