Under The Broken Roof...

September 03, 2009 Pune, India - The fifteen year old was in a no mood to listen at the cries of her ailing mother that evening. She had already shifted her mother’s bed outside the house as an attempt to get rid of her painful yells that arose periodically. She was sitting on the floor and looking straight up towards the broken roof of her house. It gave her a beautiful view of the dusky sky which was soon going to be covered with the darkness of the night. Winter had just begun and that made evenings last longer. It was going to be dark for long, she thought. She leaned back on the wall and faced the door, as if waiting for someone she always wanted to see. She kept on staring the door for a few minutes until she fell asleep.

Soon it was dark all around and the house was gulped up by the confines of the night. Unbothered by the thrills of the darkness, she continued to sleep, undisturbed by the evening tweets of the birds that had returned back to their nests. She slept seemingly lost into the serene tranquility of the dusk. She dreamt of her father. It was not more than a couple of years ago when she was so afraid of the dark. She dreamt of her father's arms which was the only place she sought to get rid of the fear of the night. It was the most secure place under the sun, she felt. She relived the day when he had bought her a new dress - the one she had proudly flaunted among her friends. She relived the day when her mother had prepared her favorite sweet on her birthday. Her face had an unusual glow as she smiled in her sleep. If a dream is what made her happy, sleep was all she wished to have. But the happiness that she searched in her dream was short-lived. She woke up suddenly, unable to see anything around her. For a while, she was frightened by the dark. Times had changed and her fear of the dark had significantly declined. I am a brave girl, she thought. It was purely circumstantial that she was now able to fight the dark, the hunger and the society. She decided not to light the oil lamp now. It was only a small amount of oil that she had in the house and she wanted to save it for the guest. She thought of the days when her house had enough oil to enlighten the room all night long, things were so easy and days were carefree; she almost had nothing to worry about.

Making her way through the dark room, she spotted the door and came out of the house. A few yards away, she could notice her mother sleeping. She decided not to wake her up. It's better to have her sleeping - that's only time when she could segregate her mind away from her abdominal cancer, thought the girl. She looked up and had a majestic view of the moonlit sky, as the wind made its way through her long hair. She was able to feel the barren farms, the stars, the oak trees along the country road and the melancholic chirping of the crickets. The only thing her young mind was unable to understand was why mother said that time has changed, when everything looked just the same.

"Is Surabhi there? Ramesh sent me..." a strange voice interrupted her stream of thoughts.

"Yes, come in!" she said as she bent her head down with embarrassment and invited the stranger inside the house. It was the time to light the lamp. She kept the lamp on the stove and ensured that it gave enough light in the room. Eventually, she spread an old carpet on the floor and invited her guest to have a seat on it.

She was unable to gather enough guts to have a look at his face. Every face is the same and it doesn't really make any difference to her, she thought. With no room for any second thoughts, she took a seat beside him.

She looked at the lightened lamp and felt happy to have the room lit. The thought that she was now strong enough to be able to kill the darkness made her feel confident. She kept on searching the feeling of security between the lusty grips of his arms - the kinda feeling which she once felt within her father's arms. Gradually, she started loosing her mind back in her stream of thoughts. A tiny teardrop secretly left her little cheek and vanished somewhere down on the floor.

She closed her eyes and kept on wandering in her world of wilderness until again an urge of hunger brought her back to her senses. She woke up wide awake and looked around. There was no one in the room. The oil lamp had already given up and the moonlit roof was the only source of light into the room. Once again, she came out of the house and had a look around. The mighty oaks still stood straight and strong and so did the open farms.

Time has changed for sure, she realized. And among the howling winds, it was only the chirping of the crickets and the cries of her weeping mother that she was now able to hear.
In India, 1.5 lakh farmers committed suicide between 1997 and 2005, and two thirds of them are from four states - Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (including the present Chhattisgarh). Their impoverished families are left with no other option than struggling with debts and hunger. Vidarbha in Maharashtra remains a grim statistic. One suicide in every eight hours. More than half of those who committed suicide were between 20 and 45, their most productive years. The Maharashtra government says as many as 1920 farmers committed suicide between January 1, 2001 and August 19, 2006.

Accolades: This post was chosen as the Best Post from the Indian Blogosphere by BlogAdda - their topmost pick on 5th September, 2009

Who : Neeraj Shinde
What : Under The Broken Roof…
Spicy : What an awesome post to start with. Neeraj has this wonderful post, with farmer’s suicide as the backdrop. We would not like to reveal much but all we can say is the way Neeraj has written this post makes it a must read.


  1. That was a really nice story. May be it is a factual situation for some as you mention. We should try hard to change this situation.

  2. This is a very moving account, portrayed with great depth and emotion! Very well written!

  3. And yes, hopefully the situation improves with time, with the government coming to the aide of these poor farmers, in the realization that the Indian economy is largely agrarian!

  4. that was very moving..
    i think we all should do something to change the situation..

  5. Farmers' plight has of late caught the fancy of the reignin TV serial makers... with two such serials on it....
    Nicely put up ...articulate....

  6. thats one awesome post..truely touching and with a message

  7. completely moving post!!
    My first time here and i felt like glued onto the story!!

    Congrats on the "Spicy Saturday Pick!"

  8. ((hugz)) profound post Neeraj.... great write , i just pray for all those poor girls who had to take this unfortunate decision :(

  9. Very touching story. Thumbs Up from my side...


  10. nice story
    thanks for visit to my blog.

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  13. What can we do? What do we do??

    I think if each of us 'urbanites' went out there and got to know one family. Sat with them spoke to them, shared their angst - and in some small way, helped them - sometimes just by being there - it would go much farther than experiencing it second hand through the media.

    The media informs us. But also inures us. For we hope someone out there is taking care. Is doing what we need to do.

    W'ful to see such thoughtfulness. Keep at it...


  14. Handled well..
    written thoughtfully...

  15. am becoming fan of your posts! you surely have an eye for stories and issues. appreciate it.

  16. Very poignant, touching. Written with genuine concern while steering clear of any melodrama. This deserves all the accolades that it gets.