Being Brown. Being Connected.

Madhuram and Shy both had linked back to the murder-suicide in LA by an Indian American man. I resisted writing about it because I was still processing it in my mind. On the afternoon of Oct 6th, Sepia Mutiny wrote about this tragedy. For someone who reads most of the posts on there, I skipped it. I glanced over the first paragraph and hopped over to other blogs. Then on the 7th, Madhuram linked back and I read the story in full. Since then, my mind keeps going back to a couple of things.

I had seen the same headline on most of the news websites I browse yet did not feel the need to read about it. Once I knew this was something that involved one of our own, I grieved. I felt anger, disappointment and helplessness.

As I read the names of the people who were dead, there was so much I felt I “knew” about them. The average desi family. It could have well been someone I knew. I wondered about what was going on in each of their lives as this happened. Did any of them in the house know what was coming? The questions are endless. Instead of speculating why Karthik did what he did, my mind kept going back to his wife, his sons, his mom in law. I keep imagining the shock and horror of it all. And nod my head in disbelief.

And I wonder why being brown affects me so much. Why do I feel kinship with the innocent lives lost? I wonder if they spoke Tamil at home, celebrated Navarathri, made sundal… I wonder how their families in India are handling this media attention. My heart goes out to each of them – Karthik, Subasri, Krishna, Ganesh, Arjun and Indra. May their souls rest in peace and their families find the strength to go through this.

13 comments

  1. yeah..it is very, very sad. I am sure he loved his kids very much, but he had no right to take their lives. Unfortunately, we all forget where we came from and get used to a certain standard of living and when that seems to go away from you, you just become desperate.

  2. It is very sad and shocking….I agree, when it happens to Indians it gets very emotional….I was wondering too…why did he have to resort to this level…after all everything is a passing phase….its shaking up everybody in India too and you know how the media deals with it….glorifying and publishing the news over and over again…it sucks…

  3. “Why do I feel kinship with the innocent lives lost?”. I guess it’s the same kinship that made us rejoice when Abhinav Bhindra won a gold medal.

    As you and the rest of the folks here have pointed out, this news is heart wrenching and shocking. To me, it just reinforces the theory that how you react to what happens to you is more important than what happens to you. It’s all in the attitude!

  4. The disbelief may be because we don’t associate shootings with fellow Indians?! I would not say what he did to himself was wrong….but he had no right to take the lives of others.
    Karthikkuthaan velicham en adhu pannarnu! I did read somewhere that there have been deaths in the wall street thanks to the tumble. Feels bad that money seems to be the be all and end all in today’s life whatever race you are, wherever you are! Harsh reality!

  5. Laksh-

    We really couldn’t believe this when we first heard about it on the news, since LA is so close by. What happened is by far one of the most horrifying story of the impact of this crumbling economy, but still, does not justify why Karthik did what he did. Still feeling numb and dazed about it all.

  6. Is it ok to feel angry as well at karthik rajaram (if he did commit suicide for financial difficulties as they say)? The eldest son they say was studying in UCLA with full scholarship. There was more to look forward in his life.

    I know people will say it is not good to be judgemental esp. one who is dead but I can’t bring myself to forgive him. I can think of several ways of where Karthik rajaram could still have led his life.

    Even though a colleague had mentioned to me first about him, I was more shocked when I fond out he was a tamilian name, one among us syndrome finally sunk in.

  7. It was very upsetting Laksh. My mother was the one who told me the news from Dinamani website. Then I searched in Yahoo and found more about it. He could have declared insolvency and gone back to India or atleast if he had killed only himself the others would have moved back to India and would have led their lives. The youngest was only 7, how could he do this to him?

  8. I only felt angered towards Mr. Karthik Rajaram to make such a stupid decision. As Apar said, “athu kadavulukkum, avarukkum mattum thaan velicham”. But it is the nature of “MONEY”. The harsh reality. May all their souls rest in peace.

  9. This was widely reported here, in fact all such incidents involving Indian Americans are widely reported here and yes, they all make us over here wonder about the American Dream. We wonder about all those who are close to us who are there, and we wonder, because people generally do not talk about their financial problems.

  10. @Rekha: I agree. I guess it is just hardwired in our brains.
    @Naan: I doubt how much of it was part of the stress his lifestyle created. Looks like he had a past history of problems
    @Rupa: True. Thankfully I don’t watch too much news on TV. Just stuff online I pick and choose to read.
    @Suman: Nail on the head! I look forward to your comments
    @Apar: Not sure if it was disbelief, it just hit home to think it could be people we know.
    @Mitr: Absolutely no justification. It is tragic
    @Sachita: True. Thats the thing that hit me most. I remember stories from the past where brilliant IIT students commit suicide. I just can’t understand it.
    @Madhuram: I can feel your angst. The why? cannot be answered.
    @Deepa: I don’t know if I feel anger. At least now much after the fact. It just feels so sad because he could have reached for help. Declared bankruptcy. Started over. So many things that could have been done.
    @Nita: True Nita. I remember when working in Bangalore, it was common practice to keep tabs on what each other earned, who got higher raises etc. Not sure if that is true any more but talking/asking about finances was not taboo. Over the years, I have realized I have changed in that aspect too. I am not comfy discussing finances with anyone or asking them about their financial health.

  11. The Harsh reality is for everyone to face and Mr. Karthik Rajaram just couldn’t take it but I would like to add in a piece of advice in here. Life is too precious people, just don’t waste it. We strongly believe at alwaysindian blog that NRI’s succumb to the pressures of life.

    Laksh, you have a heart of gold and your feeling for them seems so pure.

    God Bless!

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