x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 November 2017

Teenager wrote suicide note on exam paper

KG Sadasivan and his wife Ambika say their 16-year-old son wrote a suicide note on an exam paper three days before he took his own life but the school failed to contact them about it.

Abhimanyu Sadasivan, 16, who took his own life. Courtesy  Sadasivan family
Abhimanyu Sadasivan, 16, who took his own life. Courtesy Sadasivan family

DUBAI // A 16-year-old boy hanged himself five days after writing a suicide note on a school exam paper.

Abhimanyu Sadasivan was found dead on the terrace of the family’s apartment building in Sharjah on March 2. His school, the Indian High School on Oud Metha Road, has continued to ask his parents to pay school fees in the two months since he died.

The boy’s parents, K G Sadasivan and his wife Ambika, were called to the school on the day of their son’s death, three hours after he failed to turn up for a maths exam.

At the school, they were shown the note their son had written on the answer sheet for his chemistry exam paper on February 25.

The teenager had written: “This is not my chemistry paper, but the last exam I am writing. I am so bored of my life and, when I am dead, I do not want my body to be taken to India.”

The parents immediately contacted Sharjah Police, who tracked Abhimanyu’s mobile phone and made the grim discovery at the family home.

“Instead of calling us to the school and wasting precious time, if the teachers had alerted us earlier to what he had written, we could probably have saved him,” said Mrs Sadasivan, who has not been able to sleep since her son’s death. “We keep going back to the day’s events and think that if the call had come even a few hours before, we would never have allowed him to leave the house.

“The headmaster showed us his chemistry answer sheet. It was several pages long. He had written about the pressures of the CBSE [Central Board of Secondary Education] system, and also about how he loved all of us.”

“I could not read further,” Mrs Sadasivan said. “I couldn’t believe what I was reading and was in tears. Besides, I was really worried where my son was.”

She said the headmaster told them he was waiting for the boy to come to school on Sunday so he could talk to him about what he had written.

The boy’s father has written to the school management several times asking for a copy of Abhimanyu’s chemistry answer sheet to know exactly what he had written.

“I wanted a photocopy of the paper when the school headmaster showed it to us on the day he died,” he said.

“But my wife said it was more important to look for our son, rather than waste our time waiting for it to be photocopied. The headmaster promised to send us a copy later but it hasn’t happened yet.

“Ours was a happy home and we were always open with each other about our problems. As parents, we want to know the reasons behind his suicide.”

To add to the family’s grief, the school has been sending repeated reminders to pay Abhimanyu’s school fees for the months of March and April, which amount to Dh3,395.

“My son’s last day at school was February 25. He didn’t attend school after that. They have emailed us and rang our home a couple of times to pay his outstanding fees. We really can’t get ourselves to respond to them,” Mrs Sadasivan said.

The Indian CBSE system is extremely competitive and rigorous. Every year, hundreds of thousands of pupils take the annual Grade XII tests, notorious for heaping pressure on children from results-orientated Indian families.

The scores determine admissions to colleges in India and the pressure of studying and expectations surrounding results have been blamed for several youth suicides every year in India and elsewhere.

Two months after his cremation in India, the memories of Abhimanyu are plastered all over the walls of the family’s home. All they want is the note their teenage boy wrote before he took his own life, so they can try to piece together why he did it.

The school refused to comment.

pkannan@thenational.ae