A struggling Palghar writer tried to kill himself thrice in three days — by inhaling toxic vehicular fumes, drinking paint thinner and slashing wrists — but survived even as his mother, who had signed a suicide pact, died in the first attempt.
The Palghar police said after the third attempt on Wednesday, Rohan Ramchandran, 28, called the authorities to his ground-floor flat in Alyali village, where his elderly mother’s body was discovered. Carbon monoxide poisoning is thought to be the cause of death.
According to Rohan’s police statement, his 62-year-old mother, Rebecca, died on Monday after they filled their apartment in Keshav Kunj Society with exhaust fumes from Rohan’s scooter. Rohan, who is recovering at Palghar Rural Hospital, told Mirror that his mother came up with the plan after remembering a scene from American TV soap opera ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’.
An arts graduate, Rohan had published two Kindle edition books, Evil Land and Past Illusions, in 2013 without any success. Apparently, not a single copy was sold.
He said that he and his mother decided to commit suicide after they were left with only Rs 2. The 28-year-old’s father, Gopal, died of malaria in 2012, following which the mother and son struggled financially.
The family earlier lived in Sunrise Apartments in Lokhandwala. However, after Gopal’s demise, they sold the flat and moved to Evershine City in Vasai. Rohan’s career failed to take off, forcing them to sell even this property and relocate to Alyali village in Palghar. Their financial condition worsened in the past few months and they ran up an unpaid bill of Rs 16,000 at a local grocery store.
“We had to sell our two cars, a Honda City and a Ford Ikon, to pay various bills. I later took a loan and bought a scooter, but I started defaulting on the repayments,” Rohan said. “We were left with only Rs 2 and that’s when we decided to commit suicide.”
On Monday night, Rohan parked his scooter, a Honda Activa, near their bedroom window and left the engine idling. He connected one end of a pipe to the scooter’s exhaust outlet and inserted the other end into the window. The mother and son then closed all other doors and windows and waited as the smoke filled up the apartment. “We wanted to a painless death,” Rohan told Mirror.
The fumes killed Rebecca, while Rohan became unconscious. He regained senses on Tuesday and found his mother motionless. Rohan then tried to end his life by drinking paint thinner, but even that failed.
On Wednesday, he slit his wrists. He, however, had a change of mind and called the police. The Ramchandrans’ neighbours did not find anything amiss all three days and were shocked when the police arrived.
Investigating officer R Wagh said that in a suicide note, Rohan had blamed two relatives in Powai and three Bhayandar builders for the family’s financial ruin. The relatives, Rohan alleges, did not return Rs 30 lakh they had borrowed from his father, who worked with a courier firm. The builders did not hand over completion certificate of their flat, which Rohan claims prevented him from selling off the property.
Tushar Patil, who lives in the same society, said that Rohan and his mother rarely interacted with neighbours.