September 1st, 2015
Source: Vidarbha Diaries
All the news that Rameshwar expected to hear from home was about his sister’s wedding. He was eager to hear about the wedding arrangements and tidbits of joy and celebration. He was planning to save up some money to buy her a nice gift. After all, it was the first wedding in the family.
What he did not expect to hear was the news of his father’s death by suicide. His father, barely into his 50s, committed suicide by consuming pesticide. And collapsed in one corner of the nine-acre farmland that he owned.
Rameshwar, an unassuming 23-year-old, is suddenly the head of his family. With an ITI degree that got him a small job in Pune, he was dreaming of further education and a high-income career until the day he was presented with the stark reality of his family. “I never knew what Baba was doing. I was unaware of how he managed his finances. I never realized he was in debt. He kept me away from the problems and I was merrily studying and making grand plans,” Rameshwar says mournfully.
Rameshwar’s father panicked when the groom’s family made some demands. The happiness the family felt at finding a good match evaporated as they realized that they could not match up to the expectations of the groom’s family. And the poor farmer simply fell to pieces when the groom’s family withdrew from the alliance and the boy was married off to some other girl. Days of silent depression culminated in the suicide, a quick event that was over even before the family could do anything to prevent it.
Rameshwar quit his job and is now back home. He rarely leaves his mother and sisters alone and is now conferring with his uncle on how to manage the land and what to cultivate. And, most importantly, how to repay the Rs 2.5 lakh debt that is now transferred to him. His mother, a malnourished, uneducated woman, who seems to be in a state of constant bewilderment, clings to her son who looks no less lost.