A day after a 31-year-old woman doctor from AIIMS allegedly committed suicide, her husband was in custody and her family in a bind to explain how their fights over his sexuality suddenly turned into a tragedy. Friends and colleagues said they were clueless about their festering marital problems and the death has shocked them.
A court sent the husband, also a doctor at AIIMS and described in his wife’s suicide note as a “homosexual”, to 14 days in custody. He was arrested on Sunday after the woman’s suicide note posted on Facebook accused him of “cruelty and torture”.
The woman, a doctor at the anaesthesia department of AIIMS for less than a year, had been a bright student, a cousin said. “She did well at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Ajmer. Her elder brother is a surgeon in Jodhpur and the younger brother works in a bank. Children of a tailor, they chose to pursue higher education and made a mark,” the cousin of the deceased said.
The marriage, according to family members, was fixed by their respective parents within the same caste. “They met each other and we were told by his parents that he approved of my cousin. She also liked him,” he recalled.
But, he said, the marriage ran into rough waters very quickly. According to her family members despite being aware of her husband’s sexuality from six months after their marriage, she repeatedly tried to “turn him around”. The cousin recalled that they had a major fight in late 2012. “Her parents-in-law tried to sort out the differences. Her husband again promised he would not indulge in any homosexual activities,” he said.
But the fight had spun out of control and the husband’s parents travelled to Delhi from Sikar in Rajasthan. When asked if his son was a homosexual, the father was non-committal. “These things are more common today so we do not know why our daughter-in-law was so disturbed. Of course, he did not tell me he had these problems. In fact, the marriage was fixed only after he met her and gave his consent,” the father told Newsline.
The accused had completed his post-graduate studies in medicine at Banaras Hindu University in 2012, after which he landed a job in AIIMS and moved to Delhi. His wife, however, was still pursuing her studies in Ajmer and she moved in with him only late last year.
The father said their daughter-in-law was the first person to tell them about his son’s “habits and relationships”. “My son told me they had been fighting often and our daughter-in-law also called a couple of times sounding very disturbed. We therefore quickly went to Delhi. We tried to calm her down but she left home on Saturday saying she had an emergency medical case.”
He said, she being a “traditional Indian woman”, should have tried to make the marriage work rather than let it fall apart.
What the family knew, friends and colleagues at AIIMS did not. Rather, they spoke of an unequivocal normalcy in the life the couple led. Many at AIIMS said the female doctor’s Facebook post on Sunday was the first time they heard of any such problems in her marital life. “Nobody doubted anything because they seemed so normal, like any other couple at AIIMS. We were in different departments so we did not have any interaction with her husband,” a resident from the anaesthesia department said. Sources in the department said she was a good student, very regular in her duty hours, but of late she had appeared “distracted”.
Belying her Facebook post on Sunday, was a cover photo of the couple, arm in arm. colleagues said she was always “deeply attached” to her husband. “She would keep showing his pictures on WhatsApp and talk about him. We did not know there was such a deep rooted problem for years, but then again who discusses these things,” a senior resident from the department said.
The deceased’s husband was a resident in the department of dermatology and venerology. “He was very regular and meticulous. I knew he was married to someone from the institute, but he did not mention his wife much or bring her to social gatherings of the department. But he did not seem unhappy or depressed in any way,” a colleague from the department said.
Department colleagues and fellow students Newsline spoke to said he never spoke to anyone about his sexuality.. “He spends a lot of time in the library. In fact, I knew his wife because a few times I ran into them together at the library. There did not seem to be anything amiss,” a colleague said.
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