On July 27, 2021, Gurvinder Nath left his home in Punjab to study in Canada. A little over two years to the day, the body of the 24-year-old was brought back to his village of Aima Chahal — where his distraught mother had died by suicide.
On Saturday, Gurvinder and his mother, Narinder Devi (50), were cremated together in the village in Punjab’s Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district.
Gurvinder was pursuing a business course at Toronto’s Loyalist College. He also worked delivering pizzas on the side. During a late night delivery on July 9 in Mississauga city, near Toronto, he was robbed of his car and brutally assaulted. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital on July 14.
Back home, his brothers — one older than him and the other a twin — tried to keep the news from their parents, even disabling the internet on the phone of their father, Krishan Dev Nath.
Krishan Dev, a farmer who runs a small dairy, said he came to know about his son’s fate only after his wife — after learning of the death — died by suicide on Thursday.
“I have lost everything today,” said Krishan Dev. “My wife somehow felt that all was not well with Gurvinder and forced me five or six days ago to call him. When I couldn’t make a WhatsApp call, as my internet was not working, she got restless. She used to tell the other village women that if something happens to Gurvinder, she wouldn’t let him go alone.”
Then, on Wednesday, Narinder Devi finally found out. “While drying clothes in the verandah, she probably overheard from some passers-by that Gurvinder’s body was arriving. She became restless from then on but didn’t tell anyone in the home what she was going through.”
Gurvinder’s grandmother, 75-year-old Vidya Devi, said: “My daughter-in-law first attempted to electrocute herself but after we got to know, my grandsons Kamal and Balwinder did not let her be alone even for a minute. The next morning, Thursday, she was not home. We thought she had gone to the temple as usual. But she didn’t return for some time. My eldest grandson, Kamal, found her lying on the street just outside the house.”
Kamal said: “My mother probably consumed some pesticide. We rushed her to the Civil Hospital at Balachaur, where she was administered preliminary treatment. The doctors referred her to PGI saying her life is in danger. We found that stretchers were not available at PGI and decided to take her to DMC Hospital in Ludhiana . There, she breathed her last at around 2.15 am, the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.”
Gurvinder’s body arrived in his village late on Friday evening.
Krishan Dev remembered his son as a bright student. “He always wanted to go abroad and chose to go to Canada for higher studies two years ago. He was good in studies and cleared the IELTS easily.” He said Gurvinder had been attacked earlier as well. “My son had met with a similar incident a month before this one and had complained to police. But they asked him to be alert and take care of himself.”