Fitness… but for Life?

Palak Singh
The sudden demise of a sixteen-year-old boy from Jammu, who was studying at Delhi Public School, Jammu, has left teachers, students, and the public contemplating the value of fitness in relation to life. The cause of his untimely death was attributed to a cardiac arrest while he was running on a treadmill during his regular morning gym session. He was rushed to the Government Medical College of Jammu, where he was pronounced dead at 11 pm. Upon receiving the news, my father, who is the esteemed coordinator of Delhi Public School, Jammu, immediately went to the cremation site. Upon his return, my father declared that I would no longer be allowed to go to the gym. This was not surprising to me, as I understood that he was frightened by the incident. It is natural for humans to feel scared after hearing about such shocking events. I had no choice but to agree with my father’s decision, as he used typical Indian parenting tactics to emotionally manipulate me. Although I did not fully agree with his declaration, I nodded my head in agreement. I also learned that other students from the same school were also instructed to stop going to the gym.
Today, as I sat idly scrolling through my mobile device, the incident continued to occupy my thoughts. While contemplating the incident, another thought arose: everyone talked about what, how, and why the death occurred, but no one discussed the underlying conditions that led to this incident. Some people concluded that the boy may have overexerted himself beyond his capabilities, resulting in his sudden collapse and cardiac arrest. However, the question remains: why did the boy feel the need to push himself beyond his limits? Why did he do something he did not want to do? The answer is societal pressure. Society, family, peers, and even strangers, the four unknown individuals whom society fears and to whom society caters, disturb and disrupt an individual’s mental health to such an extent that they are pressured to do things they are unwilling to do. People do not think twice before uttering hurtful statements, believing that their right to free speech gives them the liberty to ruin someone’s mental well-being. They believe that by constantly comparing, verbally abusing, and pressuring someone, they can make that person do something they want, even if it is the person’s biggest insecurity. Unfortunately, this approach sometimes comes at the cost of the most precious gift: Life.Although it’s a very good habit to stay fit, youngsters these days force themselves to perform tasks they aren’t yet efficient at, just because they do not want to be tagged as ‘losers’. The purpose of talking about this isn’t to gain the limelight, but to inform and make those people realize that one selfish word out of their mouths can affect someone so badly that they may even risk their lives to prove them wrong. Parents, at the same time, also need to understand not to surround their minds with such thoughts that have been put into their minds by random people, which leads them to pressure their children as well. They need to understand that their child is perfect the way they have been made. Peers, friends, and loved ones also need to understand that sometimes the things they find funny and make a joke out of can be the thing the person is most insecure about.
So, instead of making the person feel like they need to change themselves to fit into this society, the family, or a peer group, make them realize that this notion of being the “perfect being” is just a hoax. Also, curbing your children by telling them not to go to the gym anymore won’t solve the problem anyway. Life is more important than anything else. Being fit is important, and so is keeping your mental health fit and fine as well.
Our condolences to the bereaved family and may the heavenly soul rest in peace forever.