Trigger Warning: Suicide, mental health

“It started when I was 13. My parents’ quarrels became more regular; my mother never retaliated and dad wasn’t drunk. He just had issues. Once, when I tried to separate them, he started hitting my siblings and me. My older brother, who was studying in Bangalore, knew nothing about it. My mother was all alone. Our neighbours and my father’s family knew, but no one ever said or did anything.

One night, my relatives came to get me from school. When I got home, I knew something was wrong. I saw my mother’s body in her room. My sister was in school, and my 8-year-old brother had found her. My father left us a year after. He’d send us money, but he was never really there.

At 15, I became a parent to my siblings. Not able to bear the loss of my mother and the absence of a father, I was depressed and suicidal. I got a scholarship offer but declined it for my siblings’ sake; When my siblings’ foreign teacher heard about it, he and his wife offered to take care of them. He sheltered and fed them and even washed their clothes while I was away. Aside from them and money sent by mum’s family, I never got any other support. Nobody knew that a 15-year-old was taking care of 2 kids.

My father was violent for 4 years and no one said anything. My teachers didn’t say anything when they saw my bruises. I want to tell people that if this is happening to them, seek help. Let someone know. Don’t let a kid lose their mom and be affected for the rest of their lives. Domestic violence has been so normalised, and our system doesn’t teach people what to do when they witness it.

I moved abroad for my master’s degree with my husband’s help. I’m still my siblings’ mom, calling them every day about college and work. I thought I’d moved on but now I realise that it’s not the case. These kinds of incidents scar you for life. My siblings are still affected and there is no proper support for them to talk about their mental health.

I lost my mum 12 years ago, and it still hurts that we couldn’t do anything. I am still responsible for my family and I want to support them the way I never got.”

Call helpline 1010 or 112 for any domestic violence and mental health issues.

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