Our Brother Prasad

My brother Prasad and his wife Seeta at wedding reception

My brother Prasad and his wife Seeta at wedding reception

We were a peaceful, close knit family of 8 siblings- 4 brothers and 4 sisters. We had managed to recreate a contented, harmonious atmosphere after the sad demise of our father in his 49th year. With a father expiring even as he was in service, we were not very well placed financially. But our mother had managed to keep us all together and nurture a unit with good values.
To this happy family Fate dealt a shock literally through an electric shock. Our second brother Prasad who was in charge of the Thermal power station in Bagalkot was electrocuted while on duty. Death was instant.
The first distinct impression of my dear brother on my memory was on the one on the day of our father’s death. A precocious 7 year old, I asked a tactless question bringing tears to the eyes of those gathered, “Now that father is dead, who will earn for the family and look after us?”. I remember Prasad gathering me in his arms and consoling me, “Don’t worry dear. We are all here. We shall look after you” little knowing that he himself would be leaving his young family in lurch in his 39th year.
Prasad was a handsome man, with a broad forehead and naturally well penciled eye brows, almond shaped eyes with long,curved lashes, a delicate, sharp nose and a pinkish, fair complexion enhanced by a trim moustache over pink lips. In fact his looks being somewhat similar to Hindi film actor Pradeep Kumar, he had been christened ‘The Moghul Prince’! He himself had been a great fan of Hindi films and Hindi film music. But he was not much of a talker. He would prefer to lounge in a corner and enjoy all the family chatting around him.He had a puckish sense of humor though. One day, a wolfish whistle followed me and my sister down the road. When we turned back irritated, we found that the Road Romeo was none other than our brother Prasad 🙂
He had a pearly, neat handwriting and I still remember the chalk portrait he had artistically drawn on the wooden pane of the dining room window.
His first job after completing his Engineering education was at the Thermal Power Station at Basin Bridge, Madras, a city he hated with his whole heart. He was a person who liked to dress well and the sweaty place was hardly conducive to that. He was just waiting for an opportunity to leave his job there. But he spent quite a few years of his career there, taking every opportunity to sneak out to Bangalore.
How we looked forward to these visits of his! The enameled toffee boxes he used to bring us every time and which we would keep perched on our college books to show off to our friends! The movies he would treat us to during his stay!!
Prasad cherished a secret wish to marry some Bangalore college educated girl. But as an obedient son he had agreed to marry a girl from another town. Fortuitously, the alliance broke off after father’s demise due to some reason. How relieved he was! But as luck would have it he did later marry a pretty girl from Mandya, choosing her from the spate of proposals he had after the breaking of the first engagement.
I still remember his acute embarrassment when he was taken in an open car in the city of Mandya before his ‘Vara Pooje’ (A ritual prior to marriage). But later he adjusted himself well to his in-laws and their conservative ways.
He was the first one in the family to spot the flair for writing in me. He was so proud of my academic achievement; I still remember how he carried me and paraded me all over the house when he came to Bangalore after my degree results. He wanted me to become an IAS officer or a Doctor in Science from Indian Institute of Science. But my mother vetoed the idea as she was scared that an ‘over educated’ girl (that too fatherless) would be a misfit in the matrimonial market.
He was very happy when I got engaged to be married as he had already seen Ramu in Madras and had hankered after him for his sister.
After a long tenure at Madras, destiny tempted him with an offer at Bagalkot Power Station. He was so happy that for once he could dress well to his work and for social activities.
On that fatal day of power outage he told his young wife that he would soon be back after rectifying the fault at his work station and to manage with an oil lamp till he returned not foreseeing that when fate dealt him the fatal blow, his wife would be left in perpetual darkness with 4 very young daughters to bring up.
After this sad accident our family never felt complete again.
But my brother would have been certainly happy to know that his four little darlings grew up, got educated, got good jobs and husbands. I wonder what type of father- in law he would have made for his 4 sons – in law and what type of grandfather he would have made for all his smart grandchildren. A question left unanswered for ever.




While our national capital has the dubious distinction of being the ‘Rape capital’ of our country (or is it World?), our own beautiful city is getting the name ‘Suicide capital’ of our country. No day passes without the dailies reporting 3-4 suicides in the city. The range of ages of the ‘suiciders’ starts from as low as 9 years and encompasses all ages (except the very old) the reasons being mostly dowry harassment, examination stress, marital and monetary problems and ‘love failures’.

The police have to spend a lot of their time in determining whether it is a case of suicide or murder. One very easy way of getting it tagged as suicide for the murderers apparently is, to murder and hang the dead body silently. Disposal by burial or burning is much more messy and leaves a lot of tell tale clues that give rise to many uncomfortable  questions.

A reliable source of rumour says that the police are planning many a step to cut down the suicide rate and thus their workload.

As a first step, they plan to abolish all ceiling fans in houses and other places. Their argument is no ceiling fan, no suicide. Nothing strange about this. In fact it was one of our brilliant police brains that thought of making helmets compulsory for two wheeler riders instead of disciplining the wild traffic on the road.  Why, for that matter even our politicians have bizarre solutions for the rape problem. Instead of meting out drastic punishment to the rapists as in Middle East, they want women to go back to the Victorian era in their attire, as if young victims of rape, say 4 to 6 years of age, tempted the rapists with their ravishing curves and costumes (Rape? Go for child marriages. Acid throwing? Stop selling acid).

Secondly, the police force intends sending circulars to all chemists and druggists to sell dummy sleeping tablets to their customers who are not obvious cases of insomnia. The fake customers can even be asked to produce updated prescription from a few selected medical practitioners or arbitrarily the druggist could judge from the demeanor of the customer if he needs the sedative really and dispense the fake pills to the undeserved.

Thirdly, the police plan to publish standard proforma for people dying unnatural deaths in the place of a suicide note. This would be made available online, which the future suicider can fill and (snail) mail it to the police station after quoting the PAN number and attaching copies of Aadhar, ration and voter’s cards(Sending it by e mail is risky as it may reach before the act). In case the suicider cannot do so, the next of kin who is not a suspected/alleged/deemed murderer can fill in the proforma and send it to police and thus reduce their work.

In addition to all these measures police can also have public brainstorming sessions and invite suggestions from the public (such as abolish examinations) by which the suicide rate can be brought down or investigations are expedited.

So, if the social scientists and NGOs are crowing about counseling and helplines, the police are keen to bring about practical measures to tackle the suicide menace. All our best wishes for their well intentioned endeavors.