Reshma Matthew Trenchil, a journalist based in Mumbai, was found dead along with her 7-year-old son Garud, on Monday.
They both jumped to their deaths from the 12th floor of their rented flat in Tulipia building in Chandivali, at 2.30 am on Monday. The building’s watchman found 44-year-old Reshma and her son lying in a pool of blood in the garden; they were later declared dead on arrival at the hospital. Police have found a suicide note, where Reshma has also accused a neighbour and his family of harassment.
Their identities were confirmed – later on Monday.
Reshma Trenchil had just lost her husband Sarat Mulukutla, a PhD in Mathematics, to Covid in May. Sarat, 49, had been nursing his parents in Varanasi who both had Covid and later died of it. Reshma could not attend his funeral and was struggling with depression.
On May 27, she wrote a post on her Facebook page: “Life began for me at 33, on a rainy September evening at a Barista Café in Hyderabad. Sarat turned out to be incredibly good-looking, even more so than his pic on a matrimonial site had suggested. He looked up at me and immediately stood up, smiling as if he couldn’t quite believe his eyes. My breath hitched even as something clicked, fell into place. I felt like a ship finally coming into harbour after a long and difficult voyage. From that day on, he became my home. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I felt secure and happy and at peace. He was a man in a million! Completely unaware of the effect his looks and voice had on women, or the keenness of his intellect! Naturally humble, he was always ready to poke fun at himself as much as those around him. He was all about action over words. If he was on your side, the whole world could be against you and it wouldn’t matter. He didn’t suffer fools or hypocrites, and detested duplicity of any sort. With him, what you saw was what you got. He usually projected a gruff exterior, saving his incredibly tender side only for his family. It was just another way he made me feel special. His unflinching loyalty, his ability to love everything about me – even the prickly bits—helped me unfurl and grow into the person I was meant to be. His immense capacity for hard work, his discipline, his ability to deal with anything Life threw at him — he was remarkable in so many ways. He derived great joy from books, movies, sports, long drives and travel. He was a whiz at Sudoku but spent an equal amount of time doing crosswords with me. Music of all kinds was always playing in the background of our lives – he couldn’t live without music but couldn’t dance at all. He pretended to dance often just to make me laugh. He made the best upma and curd rice and loved the rajma and chole I made. We never did settle the question of which one of us made better tea. Each day with him was a rare treat! I suppose it was inevitable that an almost mythical being like him would meet a heroic if tragic end. He was well aware of the risks involved. But to not go to tend to his old parents would never ever have occurred to him. Even after contracting Covid himself, he soldiered on for over a week, spending the nights on a chair outside the ICU, maintaining vigil. He continued the good fight for another three weeks from a hospital bed, struggling to breathe but determined to return to us in Mumbai. Unfortunately, the evil virus won that particular battle. To be loved by him is a privilege that I did not earn. I’ll always be truly grateful for it. He packed several lifetimes of happiness into these 10 years. His immense love for me and our son probably upset some divine balance and had to be curtailed. But no matter! Given a chance, I’d do it all over again. Losing him feels like all my organs are being slowly ripped out all day long. Yet, I’ll happily choose this pain again if it means being able to spend even a few minutes with him. Sarat’s death is ample evidence that there is no benevolent God watching over us. That being a good person is no guarantee that you will not be felled by Fate. Yet I’d like to believe the religious stories. I’d like to believe there is an afterlife where we can be with him again”.
Reshma hails from Ramapuram, Pala. She studied at the Asian College of Journalism (1997 batch) worked for The Statesman and later studied Print Journalism (MS) in Boston University.
Her teacher and mentor, senior journalist John Thomas remembers the couple fondly.
“I have known her from the time she was a student. She was later my colleague. She has visited me with her husband and son; we have met whenever they were in town. Her husband too was a sweet, loving guy. It is such a tragic end to a lovely love story”.
John wrote on Facebook: “Was the Father’s Day yesterday much too much for the seven year old to bear, with the memory of a departed father still raw? Was it unbearable for the mother, and the bereft wife in her couldn’t hold it together for the both to see another Father’s Day? The socio-psychological damage the Coronovirus causes has also many mutant variations. Reshma will be a reminder of that to us who knew her. The helplessness we feel now is what thousands and thousands feel in different ways across the world”.
Her brother is on his way from the US, after hearing the news.
Reshma leaves behind many grieving friends. May she rest in peace.