Drinking And Driving The Price One Can Pay
By K. Prashanthie
In the tranquil and scenic hills of Kandy, there lived in Anniwatte, Rohan De Silva, a consultant in the Mahawali hydro electric project, his wife Deepthi and their only child, the apple of their eye Hasini, who was 12 years old. Their whole life revolved around Hasini, in caring for her for which the parents spent all their time. They spoilt her completely, buying whatever she wanted and treated her like a princess. Rohan had no time for anything else other than his daughter, he would not go anywhere without Hasini.
There was this party which Rohan had to attend, and as usual he took his wife and Hasini along, because he never wanted to be away from Hasini. All had a swinging time and Rohan was having a glass too many. Hasini who always kept an eye on her father, was pleading with him not to drink too much and to have his dinner. Rohan, agreed but he kept on drinking on the sly. He was always confident that he could drive his way back home in whatever state he was. After dinner, Deepthi noticed that he was not quite steady and was very worried as she had not seen him like this before. When they were getting into the car, Rohan refused a friend’s offer to drive, because he was so sure of himself.
It was 1 a.m. in the morning on that fateful Sunday, when Rohan’s car, while negotiating a hair-pin bend, went off the road and fell 300 feet down into the rocks. It was many hours later that people came to their rescue.
Rohan, woke up in the hospital, with bandages and searing pains all over his body. His first thought, was for his wife and daughter. He screamed at the nurse to let him know about their whereabouts. The nurse got down the doctor, who tried to calm him down, saying that his wife and child are all right and for him not to worry. But, even though Rohan was in a bad state, he could see that the doctor was not telling the truth. He kept on pleading and became very boisterous. The nurse gave him an injection, to make him sleep instantly. When he awoke they told him that his wife did not survive the accident and that his daughter was in a critical state and being operated on. Rohan, went into shock and could not speak for sometime. After a while tears started streaming down his face and he was crying silently. He was just not speaking to anybody and the doctors were very worried about his reaction.
After a few days, he was told the terrible news that his daughter also did not survive. Rohan was in a state of stupor and he was still not talking to anyone.
After a lot of time spent with the psychiatrist, he started opening up little by little; the only words he kept saying was that he also should have died and he kept on repeating this all the time. Even on the day of discharge, he was still in a state of shock; he had his left leg in plaster, as it was broken below the knee and there were so many other wounds around his body, which were covered in bandages.
Coming home was such a traumatic experience for Rohan. The house was so desolate and looked empty without the sounds of Hasini, who used to make a lot of noise and laughter. He wanted to go away from the house and begged his helper to take him away, but eventually he was taken in.
Rohan was now a broken man, all alone in the house, which used to be full of life and his depression started getting the better of him. What depressed him more was the fact that he could not attend the funerals and pay his last respects to the only two people who mattered to him the most. There were nights that he used to cry so much into his pillows that they had to be changed often by the grumbling helper as they were fully soaked with his tears. Things were made worse, when Hasini came to him one night in his dreams and said, “Thathi I told you not to drink too much”. This had him sobbing and rolling in his bed and made him fall down on to the floor where he lay till morning, unable to get up until the helper came and put him back on the bed.
Manic depression was over taking Rohan and he was gradually becoming a wreck. He was refusing to take his food and medicines and always arguing with his physiotherapist.
This went on for sometime and one fine day, when the helper was trying to force feed him, he suddenly went berserk and started shouting and attacking the helper who had to summon for more help to keep Rohan down. The doctor who was sent for, said that Rohan had experienced a nervous breakdown and gave him strong sedatives, took the added precaution and strapped him down to the bed, because he was getting into violent fits of rage. He was kept like this, even though he was shouting to be let free.
After a few days, one fateful morning, when the helper went to wake him up to give the medicines, he found Rohan motionless and not responding. In a state of panic, he called the doctor, who came immediately and tried his best to revive Rohan.
After some time the doctor gave up and pronounced him dead. Rohan had suffered a massive heart attack, brought on by the tremendous stress of losing the only two people, whom he really loved and made his life.
This story was narrated to me by Rohan’s mother who is still living, but in a lot of suffering and anguish from the loss of her son and his family.