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Gitanjali Khandelwal

Thursday, July 23, 2009 , , 36 Comments

It was one bright unusual afternoon when I first met Gitanjali. She turned her head from her soft white pillow and smiled.

Our introduction was set to share each other’s company, to cheer strength in her struggle to establish force with life again. She was lying in hospital bed in excessive bandages and great pain, a pain, which she tried to camflouge behind her, fragile, warm smile. “Hi Ekta” she said. And from there begun a small journey of a quite unique friendship. I often went to her cottage to meet her. Ginner uncle, Dr. OP Sharma & his orthopedic team and Plastic surgeon Dr. Malti Gupta were our second common links, and all used to be very delighted seeing us together. The last time that I saw her, was the day when she discharged from Swai Mansingh Hospital, Jaipur.

Gitanjali was a victim of a road accident. She was driving to her college in a two-wheeler when her dupatta [part of a dress] stuck in a truck, which pulled her mercilessly on the road, injuring her entire front side of the body. She had undergone major surgery and admitted in Hospital. She was almost fixed to a bed where she could barely move her limbs or eat anything. All she could manage to gulp was mango frooti, apart from the glucose bottles plugged to her body through intra venous.

In few weeks, she was discharged and taken back to home on stretchers. Her pain was somewhat reduced but not completely cured. Doctors said she will take time but will gradually convalesce back to normal life. Only thing I could not realize that some pains are not allowed to be cured ever.

Days passed and I never heard from her again nor could I re-establish any direct communication, except for those bit of updates from Ginner Uncle. Besides, I have left the city and got busy in my new life.

Last heard about her was that she has started moving using a wheel chair/ crutches and has resumed her college. I planned to meet her on one of my trips to Jaipur; however, I could not make it. Then, it was too late. I heard that she committed suicide.

She committed suicide and I failed in helping her to live. The world has killed her and none of us could do anything about it. I was so busy in my own battle that I could not be around her at that time when she was moving towards that decision. For many years even today when I think of her, I blame myself for not being around or in position to help her in her struggle with life, the world, its nasty ostracism, ostracism towards physically challenged, esp. girls. I blamed myself for not being present to fight with detractors, people who showered masked sympathies but could not nurture a bantered branch. However, blames unsupported with resolutions does not helps anyone.


That was mid nineties, internet & telecom was not as advent then. It is there today and still people fail to communicate. They speak, they hear, they interact but they do not communicate.

She was a young, cheerful girl with many dreams for life. I have not envisaged in my wildest thought that she will take this step. The mighty step to take her own life, to kill herself. . I even do not blame her for that. Somewhere I can understand her decision.

It was early nineties; Internet & telecom were not as advent then. It is there today and still people fail to communicate. They speak, they hear, they interact but they do not communicate.

I felt bad that I could not stand by her side but I feel worse for our society, which could not stand by her side. To this day, am angry with myself for not being able to anticipate and revert her decision. I am angry with all those people who were responsible for her sad fate, people who with their nasty norms, repulsive remarks, and unjust judgments made her struggle harder.

Those people if come to my path, I am not going to forgive them. I do not want to sound unreasonable or hypothetical but I want to ask one question- why our ostracism is bigger than our soul or our inner conscience?

I also want to ask that- Was physical pain the real reason for Gitanjali to commit suicide. Why do we have a society that only talks of living up to its norms, its ‘man-made’ norms? Why have we created a society that preaches but not heals? A society, which breaks the soul of a Gitanjali Khandelwal and leads many of her to take that lethal step. Why?

I still am angry, dejected and answerless.

[The sound that soothes me a lot-Sound of Silence: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZGWQauQOAQ]

The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write

36 comments:

  1. Well i dont think u should blame yourself as u tried to meet her but was unsuccessful. See i dont know the reason why she committed suicide i wonder why u blame yourself.

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  2. **why our ostracism is bigger than our soul or our inner conscience?**- but was she ostracized? Was she shunned or kept away from Society? Its not clear, but i doubt the use of the word Ostracism.

    You know the main reason a person commits suicide is bcoz of unhealthy mental state. You are NO WAY responsible for her death. A normal person doesnt have suicidal tendency; to have one is not a sign of normalcy. Noone can protect a person from suicide if she / he decides to. People can only treat it through medical intervention.

    In every society there are suicides happening. Japan, a society of abundance and love/care has one of the highest cases. It all depends on a persons coping mechanism and adaptability.

    TC, CHeers. And come out of guilt.:)

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  3. NO,NO,you have reason to carry any guilt.You did your bit and stood by her when she needed you.What happened to her finally was very unfortunate,but there are certain decisions which should be left to the almighty.

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  4. In life there always will be some circumstances where we feel we could have helped but we couldn't but that doesn't mean that we didn't try or we didn't want to help.

    So stop blaming yourself!!! Some things are just beyond us!!!

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  5. But having said everything above, i appreciate and honour your sense of empathy and sentiments for a fellow human being.

    Perhaps Certain matters are left to our heart, no matter what our logic or intellect says otherwise. Love all Numero, Thats the only way to be loved. And whats life without Love, its as barren as the deserts of Arabia. TC

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  6. I know words r the most meaningless entity in these times and compared to such life altering events, they seem trivial n frivolous but dun carry the guilt, u were not the reason n it was probably meant to be. It wud hv been so better if it was not to be but then who r we to qstn the happenings n realities of the wide world???

    take care!!!

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  7. You should certainly come out of the guilt which yu have, if yu believe in Karma yu'd realise that life is purely emotions and as they say, yu get wat yu deserve...so all the people who failed and denied to help her at times, God certainly watches our deeds and they'd have to answer!..
    So please do not feel guilty, as from wat yu say there is nothin much yu cud have done...Am so sorry to hear...tak care..god bless.

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  8. Dear Friends,
    Thanks a lot for your valuable comments and insights. I blame myself for not being able to help her re gain her confidence in life and sad about it.

    @ Nazish
    She committed suicide for two reasons as known to me-
    1. Her unbearable pain and slow healing process. 2. The ostracism she faced in her social life in form of ppl who said how vain her life is now, how will she get married etc..

    @ Zillion
    She was Ostracized for sure and the pain for living with it for whole life broke her. I am not responsible for her death but i know i could ve talked and reverted the decision. She was quite normal and loved life.

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  9. @ BK C
    I would not carry the guilt, would rather abolish it by helping another gitanjali.

    BTW i visited your blogs, must say quite well thought. But I have two problems there- 1. The page could get loaded even after multiple efforts. 2. I was unable to post any comments there,though I tried to login even as guest:)

    @ Smita
    Yes you are right. Some things are just beyond us.

    @ Zillion again
    Thanks buddy and I loved that thought on desert of Arabia. wonderful.

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  10. @ CN
    Thanks. But we must question ways and realities of socities so that we do not have many more gitanjali go on altar of sacrifice .

    BTW the comment thing on your site is still not working :)

    @ Hary
    I do not nurse that guilt as much I felt bad for her. But sometime I feel that its not alawys that you get what you deserve. Thanks anyway:)

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  11. Have no remorse or pity on Geetanjali. She chose an easy escape.

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  12. i share your feelings and emotions just like u r feeling them.

    i hate society and i hate all norms... but me along cannot get out there to make the big change i dream...
    hence i m just sittin and ridculin myself!

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  13. hmm..what to say..u strongly believe u cud hav helped her change the decision ..but think, nothing happens without the knowledge of God Almighty.Besides,she escaped from this nasty world,wher we still suffer,struggle..
    so please dont be remorseful.i believe everything is destined and that helps me a lot..

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  14. @ ROFL
    I can understand whhy you are saying that but i also understand that how difficult it was for her to take that decision. I fdo not pity or sympathize her but feel good that she rests in peace. It is very difficult for a physically challenged person esp a young girl to battle this world, they kills each passing moment:)

    @ Americanizing Desi
    Hey you can make a change, if not big but in your own special way. Do not ridicule yourself, you never know what good you can do :)

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  15. @ extremity

    Welcome to my blog. Yes i believed that but then I thought how long can i help her doing that. I am ahuman being n not God and esp that time had too limited means of my own in terms above money.

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  16. I too feel sad for Gitanjali K but I guess it is the way of society and girls are at receiving ends. I do not appreciate her decision but do not reject it as well.

    Come on, enough of being sad...now cheer up and write an out of world humor column in ur true numerounity essshtyle!

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  17. wow ... thanks so much for visitin my blog ... coz of tht I got to read this post of yours n m glad tht I read it !!!
    Thanks so much :)

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  18. I am sure others would have commented on the guilt factor ... all I can say is ... it is not anyone who can feel ... like you do .... this is important ... there is very little you could have done .... your thoughts about it ...very commendable....keep up the spirit !!

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  19. Yup, people talk but do not communicate, moreso with the advent of mass communication gadgets....a real paradox of our times

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  20. :-( , makes me sad .
    I wouldn't judge either of you or gitanjali's action .
    As u yourself stated that she was a cheerful soul , the reason/circumsatnces must have been concrete to take such a harsh step :(

    Its our loss :(

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  21. @ sanchi
    Thanks. Will surely try to keep up to ur expectations.

    @ Why so serious today
    You are most welcome here. Got to see ur blog through someone else's. I must say, I am glad I did it. BTW you have got a nice name, sugandha! keep visiting:)

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  22. @ Le embrouille blogueur
    Thanks! Also thank you for joining my blogdost list :)

    I have been to ur blogs too and however amazing they are, I couldnt post comments due to the format layout.

    @ Pesto Sauce
    Good to see you back after such a long time. keep visiting:)

    @ Fallen angels
    Come on don't be sad, just try not to let anyone bring u down with ostracism or something wrong in life.

    I have visited your blogs and liked it too esp that poem on "Do I". take care and keep writing:)

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  23. Ektaa ... sorry to hear that you could not post comments... I am not sure what is wrong .... I do seem to getting comments from the others .... if you wish to ... you can email me ... dukulsblog@gmail.com .... keep blogging ....and "trying" to post comments ...lol !!

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  24. I meant email me your comments ... I have a blogger friend from China ... who could not post his comments and used to email them to me .. lol ... your comments are important and am greedy for feedback !!

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  25. @ le embrouille blogueur

    Hey, I guess it is the comment format. I have been facing the same trouble with any other blogger having the same comment format. Change it to same as mine and it will be fine:)

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  26. I have nothing new to add,as the other readers have already done it better than me. Sometimes we are so helpless in life that we cannot do what we want even when we realise that we need to act fact. At least in your case you never knew of her plans so you have to try to stop being sad.I know you will always be but still...
    My grandfather passed away two months back in a remote village in Bihar and here I was, in Delhi,fully aware that he wasn't keeping well for the last 5 days.No one knew it was this serious until we got the news of his demise on the evening of second may.Some things are just meant to happen...
    that's life

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  27. It is wide open now ... thanks for the feedback

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  28. as I read your post.. the way you've written.. I was horripilated.. I feel very sorry for her.. I am speechless at this..

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  29. Ekta, I don't think you are to blame at all. Perhaps yes, we all can be more sensitive to others and spare some time to spread some cheer in the world.

    However, rather than being morbid and depressed, the other person also has to come to grips with life, and make the most of things.

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  30. My condolences and for the blame part of it I see that people have already said which I find quite heartening. Listen to all of them. And cheer up..

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  31. @ Jayant
    That was very beautifully explained. Off course you would ve never envisioned that you will loose ur grandpa and couldn't understand the situation then. I too could not meet my grandpa in his last days and thats a very sad story...but as u said, things are meant to happen.

    @ Le em blogueur
    Its still not working :(...boo hoo hoo

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  32. @ Saad Shaikh
    Hmmmm...Welcome to my blog! I didn't realized it will have such an adverse impact on readers. I wonder how her family felt...

    @ Sumit
    Hi, I do not blame myself completely but somewhere i felt i could ve been some help. But i agree with you while the fact in mind that sometime some situation gives no further meaning to life.

    @ Vee
    Thanks buddy!

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  33. dont be harsh on yourself, i think you tried. and if people have that much empathy the world will surely change. You just focus on yourself, if you are good at heart, you have done your part. :)

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  34. @ Ani-aset
    Thanks. I just hope we start developing empathy for world around. Not just for our friends but public overall.

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  35. Hi,

    How are you doing??

    Really sorry to hear about this incidence. We as a society certainly have to grow beyond this...much beyond this, atleast those who are fortunate to be mentally & physically fit have to think beyond.

    I too was part of one such accident !!! We a group of 5 friends were travelling in an Auto Rikshaw and were hit by another. The Riksaw just kissed and went, and the body parts (considering 5 in one rikshaw) that were outside the riksha were hit at a speed of 40km/hr....There was suddenly an unbearable pain in my right knew, my right elbow started bleeding and gulped my breath because of pain and I cried "Maar Diya Madar&#@$#@......."

    As soon as I got my conscious back, Sachin who was sitting next to the driver was missing.....and I heard him shouting Rahulya Rahulya..and when I looked down, he was holding the Auto and was being dragged away..We stopped the rikhaw, turned back to the hospital. Sachin had suffered multiple fractures in his right leg....I could still here the sound of bone break...While both of were given the First Aid...Sachin said....Rahul! will I be able to walk??..Rahul!! Will I get married.

    We were told since he has lost lots of blood operations on the multiple fractures will happen over a period of a week. My home was close to the college and parents reached immediately the next day. Since, the injury although not as bad as Sachin's, but the muscle spasm had restricted the movements, and I was insisted that I go home for early recovery. I kept following up on Sachin's condition only to realize that he was under some emergency is moved to Nagpur, because there is some Gangrene formation in his leg. Coming from a family of doctors, I know what that meant..After a Month when I stood on the gates of our hostel, I saw Sachin and his mother walking towards us with the same grace as ever, just that this time he was in crutches...his leg was imputed.

    But I did not tell this to explain a dreadful incidence, but a paradox to the incidence that you just mentioned. And no doubt what happened with your friend, first the accident, then the humiliation and then the unfortunate death, is sad, and we as a society has to mature...But at times these victims too have to think beyond, have to live ahead of what has happened.

    For Sachin's luck, he did find someone who is sensitive to what happened but also feels that he is the right guy for her to spend rest of the life with him. But Sachin has suddenly become a Great Guy, Has suddenly built a larger than life image of his situation, has suddenly become "Mahan" and a great sacrificer.....and says I don't want to be a burden on someone....great thought.....good for him and he certainly is not depended, has just passed the Maharastra Public Service Exam and hopefully will have a great Job ahead. And he says She will get better life partners than me, who would take here good care....I am not the right person for her...she deserves a better life than this.....blah blah blah!!!!...He says if at all he marries he will marry someone how is equally disabled (Tum Be Sahara Ho to Kisi Ka Sahara Bano.)

    I am not trying to disgrace any one....my apologies if this hurts someone.....

    But I fail to understand.....Does everyone on this earth Man or Women or Eunuch, Black or White or Grey, Normal Or Physically Disabled Or Mentally Disabled has the right to live, has the right to chose a right companion. But I think the society takes the sufferers through so much of stigma, that even when they have good options, they stay out of it, they want to be in pain...I hope and wish things change....and I hope I could contribute to it in whichever way I can...

    And last but not the least....you should seriously think about changing your carrier to a writer..you amaze me with the way you right and assimilate thoughts..take care bye...

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  36. @ Rahul
    Whoa that was quite a story. Your fren was a lucky chap. It is admirable that he “wanted” to marry some one like him and was not “forced” to do so. The other day I was seeing this serial “Ba, bahu and baby” and a similar story was playing there where this lovely girl [suffering with polio] was asked to marry a person who is differently abled as her. However, that chap was sweet but this girl really loved a normal guy, who in turn was equally passionate about her but was abstained by his family to marry the girl. I dunno how that story will unfold as it is the serial and not reality and am sure they will use some happy ending.

    But after seeing all this, I feel blessed that thank god I am not in any such love-shove stuff…

    And yes we do have a right to choose our companion or friends. Only if we want to exercise it.

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