The news of actor and composer Vijay Antony's 16-year-old daughter Meera's death by suicide has come as a shock to the Tamil film fraternity. While it sent shock waves among those who follow him, with several celebrities offering their condolences on social media, it is personally rattling because of a special mention he made in a recent interview with City Times about his love for Dubai and a keenness to relocate to the city of opportunities. He highlighted the safe and conducive environment Dubai provided its residents for growth and prosperity, and expressed his desire to have his daughters pursue their education and make a future here.
The news of his daughter's suicide has brought the focus back to the reasons that lead adolescents to take the extreme step despite having the best living conditions and support systems. While investigations are still on, 'stress and pressure' — terms that have become cliche — have been quoted as the reasons for Vijay Antony's daughter's death by suicide. Stress and pressure are modern-age scourges that are too vast to understand and get to the bottom of. The real problem of fragile mental health in a competitive world gets sidelined in a play of words and discussions and the saga of suicides continue to play out, time after time.
An old tweet by Vijay Antony's wife, Fatima Antony, posted in March celebrated Meera's achievements in school and it portrayed the teenager as a 'force' behind her mother's strength. What could have forced the 'force' that sported a smile to take her own life is something that requires deeper comprehension from an adolescent's point of view. While the pressures of leading the life of a celebrity child can be immense, there is more to it than meets the eye in a milieu where the bars are set very high and the scope for failure is seen as being negligible by Gen-Z.
Meera's untimely demise might be a tragic celebrity headline, but the real cause of tragedies like these are still left unaddressed. The issue of teenage mental health and its fatal fallouts, no matter in which echelons of society it happens, needs more attention and immediate redressal. The death of the star child only underscores the urgency.
The actor, in his interview, had spoken about his nature of not planning anything in life. "When you plan, you strictly go by it. When you don't, you can choose to do anything that comes your way." That his plans to settle in Dubai and give his children a future here will remain an unfulfilled dream following his daughter's passing is an eerie reminder of the unexpected nature of life.
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