Covid-driven suicides: Gig worker to hotelier, and the trauma of those left behind

The year 2020 witnessed more suicides in the business fraternity than the farmer community. Photo: iStock

On June 17, 32-year-old Rakesh Das, a Zomato delivery executive, quietly checked into an Oyo Hotel room in Noida after delivering food in a nearby area. He then shut the door on the world outside and inhaled liquid nitrogen which he had carried with himself.

Das, investigation revealed, had been combing the internet for ways to die since he lost his job at a private company in the wake of Covid. The birth of a child just a few weeks before the extreme act had added to the strain on the family’s meagre resources.

Das left a note explaining why he could take it no more. In his suicide note, Das said, “I am willfully doing it. I saw this technique of suicide on internet which says nitrogen gas kills without much pain. If I die because of this, please call on these contact numbers... I have Rs 5 lakh debt which I am unable to pay. I don’t have a job and the job I am getting is not what my heart allows me to do. I want to tell my family members that I love them.”

Rakesh, who was from Assam, had shifted to the national capital for studies and brought his parents to the city after he found a job.

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