Friday, June 11, 2010

A large number of Mickky Pacheco’s supporters assemble behind his residence at Betalbatim on Thursday 10 June 2010

The Curious Case of Nadia Torrado

Is Nadia’s unfortunate suicide a reflection of what society in Goa is fast turning into, asks Dr OSCAR REBELLO

Goa is presently witness to the latest blockbuster running houseful in our little state: ‘The mysterious suicide of Nadia Torrado’. Admit it, all of us are riveted by the nuggets of intrigue, deception, histrionics, tears and suspense flung at us by the participants in this morbid soap opera.
Whatever the conjectures and innuendo, we can be certain of four salient, indisputable facts:
1. Nadia Torrado was desperate enough to commit suicide. The ‘accidental’ ingestion of Ratol paste theory has no medical basis whatsoever. You can’t die so dramatically if you simply brush your teeth with Ratol paste.
2. Over 99 per cent of Goans are relieved (even secretly chuckling) to see the back of a nasty work of art who colourfully dominated South Goa politics. Whether he abetted the suicide or not investigations will tell (or not tell), but just to see the boorish Mickky Pacheco ejected from his ‘kodel’ is, for most of us, ‘just deserts’.
3. The Government of Goa headed by Digambar Kamat has not let the entire police force crash land on Mickky out of any altruistic sense of justice and fair play. Nailing Mickky and kicking him out makes ample sense to the Congress in South Goa. And Mickky, predictably and idiotically enough, has consistently placed his head on the chopping block. Don’t for one moment think that the sun is going to rise in the west and that the government will now go after all the bad guys. ‘Our’ bad guys will be protected ‘Not our’ bad guys will be eliminated, until the next coalition government.
And this last indisputable fact:
4. A young girl; desperate, wretched and confused with life’s choices she made, took her own life. Suicide is a horrible, horrible tragedy. It isn’t and can never be a synonym for a media circus, character assassination or petty gossip. It is an insurmountable tragedy for the victim and certainly for the family she leaves behind.
The first three facts will be handled by the courts, the activists, the media and the investigating authorities (if politicians don’t wade in to interfere). As a society, our complete focus must be on the last fact: Is Nadia’s unfortunate suicide a reflection of what our society in Goa is fast turning into?
Speak to any psychiatrist and (s)he will tell you of the alarming rise in suicide attempts in Goa – both successful and unsuccessful – over the last decade and half. This should not be a surprising statistic, considering the potent cocktails brewed in Goa that makes it a fertile ground for young people to snuff out their lives prematurely.

A fast life; a quest for thrills rather than enduring happiness; glum economic prospects; examination pressures; broken families; the omnipresent scourge of drugs and alcohol; our morality and values plunging lower than Lady Gaga’s necklines; the python-like grip of corruption on our system; the relentless, savage rape of Goa… It’s a wonder that any of us actually want to remain alive in this environment.
And trust me, it will get worse! With our mindless and seductive embrace of today’s cowboy capitalism, the incidence of rape, crime, murder, shootouts, extortion and kidnapping is set to become endemic. With our blind acceptance of American-style capitalism-on-steroids also come all the social ills that afflict that continent. Brace yourself.
Most near-suicide and fatal cases we handle are of youngsters out to prove a point. A silly argument with a parent, sibling or friend, and pronto, the youngster swallows a fistful of tablets, or Dettol, or whatever (s)he can lay his or her hands on, and is rushed into the Emergency Room.
Most poisons can be reasonably well handled. The availability of modern antidotes and dialysis facilities means we can save most lives, if the patient is brought in early. The big problem is when there is a delay in seeking medical attention, owing to social stigma or, worse, from the fear of the bizarre law that makes attempting suicide a crime.
But by far the deadliest and surest killer poison is Ratol paste. Once ingested and absorbed, the fatality rate is near 100 per cent, even with the best facilities that can run up a bill of over Rs40 lakh. It is such a deceptive poison because the patient usually seems well for the first 24 to 48 hours, but once the jaundice sets in, it mostly results in sure death within seven agonising days.
The fear, trauma and agony writ large in the victim’s eyes is truly heart-wrenching. They may have swallowed the poison to jolt a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or parent, but now they don’t want to die. But, whatever we doctors do, we can almost never get them back.
I therefore second the suggestion put forth by the feisty Auda Viegas that there must be a ban or at least restricted sale of Ratol paste. It’s a horrible, horrible killer. Alternatively, we parents need to keep Ratol paste under lock and key, if we don’t want our kids / staff / significant other to end up as victims of its lethal accuracy.
Also, as suggested by Celina Pereira of New York in a touching post on Goanet, we need hotlines for potential victims on the verge of suicide. Sometimes, just a simple heartwarming talk can break the messy cobwebs in the mind, and serve as comforting chicken soup for the soul.
In sum then, folks, once the heat, dust and storm of this story fade out, we will all be back to base. The media will go chasing another scoop and we, the audience, will be salivating for the next soap opera. The politicians will move on to playing the next ‘elimination round’. The judiciary / cops will ponder over the case for the next 75 years. The family will live a life of guilt and remorse forever. And Mickey will probably return to power with a thumping majority in the next poll, and all will be forgiven.
Sadly, for a desolate, forlorn, tragic young lass, all of 27 years old, fighting the demons of her own awful choices – a girl they called Nadia Torrado – there will be no comebacks.
PS: One thing that does not make sense is the charge of culpable homicide on Mickky & Co. Why would a man who tried to bump off his girlfriend spend over Rs45 lakh, doing everything possible to save her life? It sounds completely incongruous. Suicide, yes. Murder? My, my, that’s rich!

The Ubiquitous World Cup

From today the grandest spectacle on earth will unfold before our eyes – the Copa del Monde. Agitations will be put on hold, attendance at offices will drop, beer company execs will have smiles on their faces and passionate arguments in Goa will abound. I love this Carnival every four years.
It is said that the whole of Argentina is praying that their team loses the World Cup this time. Yes, loses…! That’s because if they win, an unfit, enormously corpulent and hideous Diego Maradona has threatened to run on the streets of Buenos Aires stark naked!

As published by Herald / 11 June 2010

About the writer, Dr. Oscar Rebello
He was one of the nominees of CNN - IBN Indian of The Year 2007 in the Public Service category.


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A big e-welcome to you. Tumcam Maie-mogacho ieukar. Enjoy Life - This is not a rehearsal! Konkani uloi, boroi, vach ani samball - sodankal. Hich Goenchi osmitai ani amchem khalxelponn. Goenchi amchi Konkani bhas! Ekvottachem saddon Goenkaranchem. This is Gaspar Almeida from Parra, Bardez, Goa, based in Kuwait and am connected with the website created by Ulysses Menezes, and as Moderator of the famous first of its kind Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter (since 1994) and The Goan Forum and several Goan and Indian associations and forums and e-forums in Goa, India, Kuwait, The Middle East and worldwide.