Thursday, May 6, 2010

DEATH LEAVES A VOID IN ONE’S LIFE (6th May 2010, 1250 Hrs)

Death is perhaps the only reality in our lives that leaves a void that just cannot be replaced by even the almighty! Trust me, it is one of the toughest tasks when one has to discuss death of a family member to get information about the deadly incident. My devotion to help the suicide farmers’ families leaves me with no option but to interact with affected families about their family members’ death. The experience and interaction drains me out completely because of emotional trauma that one has to live with… to lead a life and weave the broken strings once again without someone very special, who has left forever.

During my visit to Vaigoan, the second family that I visited was that of deceased farmer Shri. Arun Narad, aged 40, who left behind three daughters (Elder daughter – married in 2007, Kanchan (18 yrs and is all set for her marriage in coming months) and Monali – standard VII th student) and widow wife, in November 2009. The family was having their meals and welcomed me with expectations. Expectations to get some compensation (money) for having lost the head of the family to suicide. While I was facing emotional difficulty to start my conversation, I was surprised watching Kanchan because she was smiling and busy eating. The mother, who spoke only in Marathi while understanding pretty well the Hindi I was speaking, seemed to be a little aggressive in telling her woes without much remorse (I am really sorry for writing the true-life experience as I witnessed).

Kanchan, Widow of late Arun Narad & Monali

She informed that late Arun Narad had taken 4 to 5 lakhs loan for daughters’ marriages inspite of having 9 acres land. Last year, their farmlands had a yield of as much as 5 to 6 quintals of Soyabean and 5 to 6 quintals of desi cotton per acre. The distress to pay off loan took a toll on Arun Narad and he committed suicide in November 2009. However, when I enquired from Kanchan, who is fluent in Hindi, she stated that father was always sick, all the while smiling and stuffing herself with some sweets. The youngest Monali was trying to hide behind her sister’s back and stealing a glimpse once-in-a-while to look at me with wonder.

The moment Kanchan told me about her father’s sickness, almost immediately the mother intervened and told me that her daughter doesn’t understand Hindi well and she doesn’t know anything about her father’s death. And then admonished Kanchan in front of me to keep shut, in Marathi, which I understood well. I was surprised in many ways by such behaviour from the family. Widow of late Narad was expecting money from me. When I told her I have come here to understand the reasons behind all the suicides in Vidarbha so in near future I can support the affected families to stand on their feet, she was disappointed.

The rumours in the village was that the deceased was addicted to liquor and had died in a road accident. Will I ever know the truth behind Shri. Arun Narad’s suicide or death? When I left the house, one thing amazed and made me wonder as to how insensitive we can be, even while sharing death of our own family members! Because while I was putting on my shoes at the door step, Kanchan shouted at her mother in Marathi saying –‘Why did you lie about the 5 lakhs loan?’ I leave for you all to decide to judge what this experiece taught me… I am simply sad at such a turn of events!

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