Wednesday, March 09, 2011

How do you push your child off from the 19th floor?

When I read the newspaper yesterday, this question kept haunting me through the day. How could life seem so full of despair that you would kill yourself and kill your two innocent children as well, children who trust you for every single thing and have accompanied you unquestioningly to the 19th floor. Is it an act of desperation, or an act of pure selfishness, a statement that since you have brought the child into the world, it is your prerogative to take the child away from it. Or is it a gesture of defiance against the people who have led you to take such a terrible step, defiance that states, well, you got rid of me, but I'm taking my children with me too. Or a sense of hopelessness that there was nothing in the world for either you or your children to look forward to and therefore you needed to kill yourself and your children.

What could cause a mother to kill her children?

I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. I know for sure when a person gets into a depressed state of mind, irrational thoughts dominate the mind and the thought process. I will not comment on Nidhi's domestic situation, it seems to my mind, like what a majority of Indian women go through, nothing that merits jumping off a building and taking two innocent lives with her. I would see this as an act of cowardice.

She was well educated. She could have walked out and earned her living, and supported her children if the domestic situation was so intolerable. She could have stood up for herself and her rights if she did not wish to be 'dominated' as the newspaper reports go. She could have see a life with her children out of the marriage, given that she was surely capable of earning a living.

Or was it that she had been so conditioned by family pressures that she couldn't contemplate a divorce and raising her children on her own. Or was it that she was in the grip of an irrational overwhelming bout of depression that wasnt allowing her to think rationally. I'd like to think it was the latter. We do crazy things when depression grips us. We women are conditioned to keep things quiet, not talk about issues that are upsetting us, sweep things under the carpet. Our anxieties build up within us until we implode. Maybe this was what happened with Nidhi.

I can only feel my heart breaking at the thought of the two innocent children who willingly and trustingly accompanied their mother to the 19th floor only to be hurled to their death.


  1. When I had Arhaan one of the leaflets mentioned something like Its normal to feel so low at times that you are tempted to fling your baby to shut him up. Its normal.Its not normal to follow up on that. I have to admit I have had my dark days, and I understand what you mean by "defiance" Fuck you Im going to hit you where it hurts. But there is it something as cliched as mommy love that stops you. Not that I want to infer Nidhi didnt love her kids, but I always wonder what the metaphorical "line" is that we havent crossed. I am pretty pissed at the dad's statement too, how he knew that the in-laws were harassing her. Well so what did you do about it?

  2. Depression + No support is what I would also look at it. They could have done something to improve the society with the education and influence they had.

  3. Aneela: Exactly, I keep wondering what tipped her over. And I am very upset with the father and the 'community elders' who are now making noises.

    Meenakshy: No support is the key word I think. If she had felt she could return to her paternal home anytime she might have not taken such a drastic step.

  4. I read this as well and it made me really sad..infact I have been thinking the same could a mother do Aneela said, I do get really bugged at R, but to throw them off the have so much trust in their would they have felt when they were being hurled...the 7 year old son was down first followed by the 3 year old would that daughter have felt in those 2 secs..the very thought makes me so sad and I feel you said, she could have separated, earned her living..whatever...but doing this?

  5. Baaprey! I need to google to read it now :( it seems she had no himmat to go on and thought that her kids are better off this way? I shudder at the thought of flinging children off the 19th floor, I would rather push the tormentors instead :(

  6. I read it and it makes me cry :( and she is a CA for gods sake! I hope she was completely mentally unstable to have done this, nothing else makes sense :((( poor poor kids :(((

  7. Kiran, right now a friend's friend is also dealing with her 10th std. daughter jumping off the 7th floor of a building last week...the child had clinical depression and was under treatment, she'd also had other severe mental health issues. I think depression and the so-called chemical imbalance associated with it can unhinge even the most rational mind of a mother.

    RIP all three of them. As usual, the real culprits will go scot-free. Maybe we should be writing about why none of the family or in-laws realised what this poor woman would do? Like you said, she must have had nowhere to go to. Backed into a corner.

    All I can think everytime I hear about these tragedies many more females lost in this already imbalanced gender ratio nation of ours.

  8. this was the first thing i read in the paper yesterday, and the whole day, i couldnt stop thinking about it.... guess most of us have periods of such thoughts when we are in the depths of despair, but something brings us out of it, and into sanity.... and i cant help wondering like you what could have pushed her over that edge.... reading the reports today have only made it worse.... a woman like her, well educated, capable of taking care of herself and her kids... God! and there we were talking of Women's Day!

  9. the minute i read that article i was wondering what u or the MM would have to write about it.

    somehow i dont blame people who take drastic steps anymore. i know what weaknesses can do and i know how the hollowness can kill.

    sometimes the end just seems the perfect solution.

  10. Anonymous6:58 AM

    Thank you for the post Kiran, I have been upset ever since I read the news. Like I said earlier just because you are a mother you do not have 'rights' over your children's life. What annoyed me was also throwing them from the 19th floor couldn't she have found an easier way of killing them?

  11. she had to flung her children first,since she would not have been able to die peacefully leaving kids behind...and the aniv day she chose also says a lot about her state of mind..also the 19th floor.
    Suicide is not a day's thought,it gestates and takes dark roots before the infalliable courage takes over.

    women go through untold miseries,many cling to last dregs of self respect in marriage,do not want to be objects of self pity,feel wounded when society enquires about what went wrong,in a divorce fight for the custody of children,see them being branded as kids of divorced parents.Greatest is the emotional conflict within,and need to be subordinate even when the man is a self-righteous pig .

    reminds of medea

  12. Oh wow..that's devastating.

    It actually reminds of me of something that happened here in Melb in 2009...a father stopped his car in peak hour traffic on the West Gate Bridge (massive bridge that goes over the mouth of the docklands/ocean) and threw his 4 year old daughter off it for apparently no reason. She didn't even scream :(

    When I heard that, I was physically ill - I could not even fathom how a father could do that to such an innocent child. People here were in shock for days.... :(

  13. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Its very difficult, it is not cowardice, everyone lives their destiny.
    Imagine a literate, capable women not getting a good life she deserved. Its easy to say walk out, but we all know its not an easy life after that too, specially with two kids in hand. NO kiran. and those kids, had she left those kids behind they owuld have lived a useless life too..the father who could not care for her when living would have married again and so there would have been start of another terrifying life.
    I dont know about others but I also go through these days a lot and feel like no one even knows what I am going through or cares. there are a lot of options but sometimes they reach a bit too late, when a person is really breaking down, no one is available to help them. I empathise with Nidhi and I have no sympathy for any of her family members...she is hopefully in a better place, where people really love her.

  14. R's Mom: Since I wrote that yesterday, I've been thinking and rethinking the case and what I would have done in her place. For one suicide is not an option. Ergo, she must have been seriously clinically depressed to carry out such a plan. I feel sad for her, and more so for her innocent children.

    Sonia: It must have been clinical depression. What's terrible is that she didnt get the help she needed. Women are never noticed in the family, we soldier on, regardless of our physical and mental state until break point.

    Starry eyed: Its so terrible that she must have felt her children would lead a miserable life without her and felt compelled to kill them too. Its heartbreaking.

    Divi: The end for yourself, I dont think the end should include killing your children. That's all that is troubling me. Why the children.

    Anu: Precisely, educated and capable of caring for her children. I've seen maids whove been deserted by their husbands bring up their children by slogging their entire life. I can only conclude it was depression.

    Anon: It seems to be a decision taken on the spot after a lot of gestation.

    Seema: There's a nice article in today's TOI analysing this maternal tendency of committing suicide and killing the children too, you are right, suicide is not something that one decides in a day, it takes a lot before a person finally decides to commit it. Who knows what the true story really is, why did Nidhi feel so overwhelmed. Poor lady. Poor children.

    Silvara: I remember reading about that and getting shocked too...

    Anonymous: Let's agree to disagree on this, I feel she had no right to take the children's lives, they had the right to their own life whatever it may have been. We all go through a lot of shit, I only think what if someone like my mother had decided to commit suicide when my father died and we were homeless, and kill me too? I can only say if it was depression I understand her actions, and can sympathise, chemical imbalances make folks do crazy things. I empathise with her, and wish she got the help and support she needed rather than have felt so backed into a corner that she felt that suicide and killing her children was the only escape.

  15. Anonymous10:47 PM

    educated and capable women such as nidhi are too proud to reveal to the society/parents/friends the maltreatment they get at the hands of in-laws,yet consider their children as inseperable,who would be motherless.Hence the plunge.

  16. The problem lies with the Society.
    Women like Nidhi have no out, no family backing to walk out of a bad marriage
    :Log Kya Kahengay?"
    I am appaled at the Marwari society trying to hush the matter without leting the law take its course. WTF? Thats the best I can sum up my emotions.
    There could also be a possibilty that she may have been pushed?
    Until a fornesic is done, its hard to say but with all the corruption, that could so easily be compromised
    As a mother I cannot fathom ever hurting my child.
    But I cannot judge those who do.
    I will give her the benefit of doubt that instead of being burned by the in laws perhaps she was pushed off the edge, literally .
    God bless thier souls

  17. Anon: yup. Medea syndrome.

    Travel bug: Society. Depression. And a pox on them damn Marwari elders trying to hush up the matter. It really is appalling.