This is a special edition from Deepa Vandhana, who works for the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, as a media liaison officer for the Executive Service Unit. The
02 Sep 2018 10:00
Sonam Shivanjni Kumar now enjoys being a radio personality, choreographer and a model, thanks to her family who saved her.

This is a special edition from Deepa Vandhana, who works for the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, as a media liaison officer for the Executive Service Unit. The rising number of suicide and suicide attempts is becoming a major social issue in the country. This article sheds light on how our loved ones can detect and intervene before it is too late.

Sonam Shivanjni Kumar was a bright student in high school. She was good in the subjects she’d chosen, but more so in Hindi. She used to score high marks in it and she loved music and dancing.

She became intrigued and fascinated by the world of the disc jockey, their outgoing character and ability to grab the attention of their audience over the airwaves.

And so she set her mind to become one.

That was last year.

Today, she sits behind the mic and en­tertains her Hindi-speaking audience with her lively show on Radio Navta­rang, announcing from her hometown in Nadi.

But this is no ordinary story of mere aspiration turning to reality, for be­neath the voice of a lively commen­tator used to be one who was hurting inside that it almost drove her to the point of giving up on life.

Ms Kumar, who is now 18 years old, says she wanted to end her life and at such a promising age because of pres­sures from her family who wanted her to live their dreams instead of hers.

“I wasn’t permitted to pursue my in­terest of announcing, for which I de­lightfully chose Hindi,” she said.

“That denial of pursuing my own in­terest filled me with such emotional trauma, the disappointment in not ful­filling my dreams led me to becoming depressed.”

Though she did not seek medical help and counselling, Ms Kumar knew she had become depressed because suicidal thoughts kept coming at the back of her mind.

She suddenly became an outsider among friends and more and more she lost touch with her surroundings.

“I cannot begin to describe those moments. And as the days went by I became even more obsessed with the career yet I also felt exceedingly help­less in rejecting my elders’ decision.

“Born into a strong Hindu culture of obedience and honour to parents, I kept losing the battle not only in the midst of family pressure, but in my mind too.

“I had lost my hope of the future and negativity overpowered me.

This inward despair eventually showed outward. Her parents noticed the change in their daughter’s atti­tude and routine over time. And her father, Dinesh Kumar, took the bold step to consult his daughter.

Mr Kumar said: “Hearing that my daughter was turning against my will was heartbreaking because just like other parents, we struggled a lot too to take our daughter to that level.

“And just like any other father, I started to dream about the welfare of my daughter even before her birth and from that early stage I had de­cided that my daughter would study a doctorate degree.

“All I only knew that my daughter will have everything ‘the best’ I as her father can provide.”

It didn’t take long before Mr Kumar decided that it would be best to grant his daughter’s wish and in the hope that she would be the woman she was meant to be.

That’s when the healing process be­gan.

“We didn’t feel good, but what father would want to see her child face death every day because of my own selfish­ness?

“I told myself that I was the one who wanted my daughter to be something that she wasn’t interested in.

“We can’t abandon our child and that is where we as parents need to be care­ful of the pressure we put onto our child.”

To this, Ms Kumar said: “It is be­cause of the support from my loved ones that I did not end up on my death­bed and this too enabled me to pursue other ambitions that have turned into money-making ventures.

“I am still healing and at present un­dertaking a teaching course.

“All you need is to keep on going and have the right mindset to make your move. But this isn’t all. It takes one an­other to build each other in the right way than in making one fall.”

Ms Kumar has come a long way from her dark days, and today not only does she make ends meet from her show, she has done some gigs in modelling on skin care products, fitness and health and extended her love for mu­sic and dancing by being a choreogra­pher.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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