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Suicide is a taboo subject for conversation. Particularly what makes a person want to commit suicide or what to say in the face of their pain.

“A man devoid of hope and conscious of being so has ceased to belong to the future.”
― Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

Suicide is a subject almost everyone has thought of at some point or the other. Almost everyone has wondered what it would be like to end our own life or how it could be done without confronting the great fear - pain, suffocation or other discomforts. Yet suicide remains a taboo subject. The feelings behind suicide. What makes someone commit suicide. We can talk statistics or prevention or helplines, but in the face of actual pain that drives a person to suicide, we have no skills. There is a difference between contemplating suicide and planning to commit suicide. An important one. The first is a fairly common and natural response to unbearable negative emotions. The other is an irreversible action.

I admit I have often considered suicide. I have written about suicide before too. From a perspective of statistics, from a perspective of understanding widespread distress needing political answers, from a perspective of empathy when I read about suicide, from a perspective of failing to support and grieving when someone I know commits suicide and I have also considered suicide as an option to end my own life when I was very sad. Yet, whenever I have tweeted about the subject, I have immediately got responses that amount to stopstopstopstopstopstopstopstopSTOP! It is so immediate that it would be hilarious if the subject were not grave. I have got helpline numbers as replies, I have got advice to not let dark thoughts enter my mind.

Hello! I write and tweet and comment and contemplate issues of human rights abuse. How in the world can one do that without having any dark thoughts? If I were planning to commit suicide, why would I be tweeting instead of finding myself a rope? I understand that it can sometimes be a cry for help by a distraught person, but if the rest of the words are perfectly normal, where is the harm in reading to find out what is being said?

Because here is the thing. Even if a person were tweeting about suicide publicly as a last ditch call for attention and help, the last thing they'd need is to be told to shut up or a sea of platitudes. What they would be needing is an empathetic listener who cares.

What exactly is this fear of talking about suicides?

“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

I admit I have spent a great deal of time contemplating committing suicide over the years. As in killing myself. I have been in unhappy relationships involving heartbreak, I've been in an abusive marriage with an alcoholic, I've been a broke single mother of a disabled child. Despair and depression are no strangers. And yet I am here, typing this post.

I have actually found thinking about suicide in great detail helpful. Instead of fearing the pain of death (and thus possibly taking a rash step "while I have the courage" maybe after a glass or two of vodka), I've gone and researched methods of suicide. What would cause the least pain? What are the consequences of failure? What is the best method so that it causes least pain and least risk of failing and living with permanent damage? And anyone who knows me knows that when I say research, I mean obsessive information finding till I am convinced I know the subject in and out without actual experience. Enough to make a very well considered decision. On and off, when I'm in utter despair, I've gone and rechecked all the information. And yet here I am, typing all this.

Is this a guarantee I will never commit suicide? No. But it pretty much guarantees that I have given it thorough thought and not found it a better tradeoff for now. It guarantees that if I do it, it will not be a thoughtless impulse, but a decision I take about my life after considering all options I have.

So how has contemplating suicide helped me?

By giving me an option. By giving me an exit from the pain. By giving me the concrete information that if all this gets unbearable, I still have the option to exit. In the process, a miracle happens. I am no longer cornered by my despair. I always have the cheat route out. And because I know that, I am never out of options. I lose the fear of making attempts to change my circumstances that could fail.  Just allowing myself to spend time thinking about ending myself is a catharsis. If no one else, at least I am acknowledging how bad things are. I am listening to myself. It helps me feel heard. It gives me a vocabulary for describing my situation when asking for help. No, I don't mean "I am suicidal, help me or else." I mean "This, this and this is the reason for my despair. I am not able to see functional ways out. I need help." - because hello, I've gone through all the reasons in my contemplation and have them now sorted out in my head.

And sometimes, in a very cynical way, the contemplations have saved me. If I don't care whether I live or die, why not try this one last thing or the other? If I hit a dead end, I can always die.

“Killing myself was a matter of such indifference to me that I felt like waiting for a moment when it would make some difference.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Here is an example how. When I was younger, my emotions were more volatile. Taking what I felt seriously and giving it serious thought helped me see things more clearly and invariably, I ended up thinking that if there was any hope, I could use it and if there wasn't, well, I could always die. But the well thought out option being there and not at any threat of being taken off the table gave me the confidence to know I could opt for it any time and there was no need to do it right now. I could afford to wait and see. I am truly grateful no one immediately tried to stop me at such times, or I'd have been tempted to use the opportunity before someone blocked it from me.

Now I am older. I have a young disabled child. Whoever knows me knows that I'd chew my arm off before I allowed anything to harm him. Well, losing a mom would definitely harm him. So suicide is totally not an option any more. At least while he is alive. He needs me. Period. Again, if I hadn't thought this through, I could have been at risk of giving up without considering the impact.

In some of my more selfish and melodramatic ways, I've even thought "What will be, will be" If I am not there, someone or the other will care for my son, though I can't imagine who, right now. But then, in such a melodramatic moment, the desire is also to leave a lasting mark on the world when I die. And oops, it is not "orphaned kid in moment of despair". I'd like to be remembered for something better, thank you very much.

Whatever it is. Others may have their own reasoning. Still others may come to a well considered decision that suicide is actually a good choice for them, When my father was dying of Parkinson's, he had the option of looking forward to an indeterminate bed ridden existence with little control over his body, being bored out of his wits and too exhausted to do anything about it but to wait to die. He begged me to kill him almost every week. It is illegal and I have two more dependents, or I would definitely have arranged for him to be freed as per his will if it were legal. Others do it out of poverty. Starvation. When the alternative is to live in debt and watch your family suffer with no hope of ever providing for them in sight, it can be a brutal life to look forward to, and death may simply be a matter of running out of the ability to fight.

“Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank -- but that's not the same thing.”
― Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer and other stories

Whatever it is, however it plays out, a suicide is not about dying or exiting the world, it is about escaping unbearable torment. A person who feels unheard and uncared for, is unlikely to respond to a panicked flood of platitudes that s/he has heard a hundred times that drowns their voice all over again, even in the contemplation of death.

How agonized we are by how people die. How untroubled we are by how they live. ~ P. Sainath

My suggestion is that we all examine what this fear is that stops us from listening on hearing that word. Because the lives of many around us could depend on how we respond to their pain. If someone has made a well considered decision to die, there isn't much we can do about it, but if someone is screaming into a void of despair, perhaps us offering a listening ear will give them the space to be heard, and in the process get a clearer view of their situation.

What do you think?

Fire Brigade withdraws clearance to Golden Chariot Restaurant at Hub Mall, Goregaon

Mumbai, 14 March, 2015: Planning to kill yourself and your family after a tasty meal? Go to Golden Chariot Restaurant. Blocked fire-exits and various other dangerous practices makes this restaurant at Goregaon's Hub Mall your best bet at achieving a fiery death. Although activists like Shaikh Fakhruddin Junaid, Sulaiman Bhimani and myself have repeatedly pointed it out to Mumbai's Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Fire Brigade, the ability of Golden Chariot to bribe the powers-that-be and also abuse judicial processes has helped it to survive. But orders passed by MCGM and Fire Brigade in 2017 suggest that Golden Chariot's goose is being slowly cooked. After the restaurant finally caught fire on 29th December, 2016 (read newspaper reports here and here), civic authorities are finding it difficult to dodge their responsibility to ensure public safety by sealing it.
Planning to kill yourself and your family after a tasty meal? Go to Golden Chariot Restaurant. Blocked fire-exits and various other dangerous practices makes this restaurant at Goregaon's Hub Mall your best bet at achieving a fiery death.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Kiran Achrekar and Deputy Chief Fire Officer V N Panigrahi have ordered the closure and sealing of Golden Chariot. Five days days after the fire, DMC Kiran Achrekar wrote in his remark to the official report, "Ask Dy.CFO to seal the premises for failure in safety measures."
 
The report indicates that because of the recent fire, the excuse that MCGM's previous notices and orders were subjudice at Dindoshi Court fell apart. Despite the DMC's instructions, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer dragged his feet for two months, but finally he wrote in his official recommendations on 6th March 2017, "...it seems there are discrepancies in the area, encroachment, unauthorized addition / alteration, construction of loft, etc. in the said premise... In view of the above, the NOC/requirement letter issued under no. FBL/S/106/1076 dated 01/11/2006 by this department stands cancelled."
While this is a encouraging, the fine print betrays the reluctance of MCGM and Mumbai Fire Brigade to take actually seal the restaurant. The last line of the CFO's recommendations hints that Golden Chariot may seek an escape route by contacting the MOH-P/S Ward for "fresh remarks from the fire-safety point of view after verifying the above facts". Many municipal and fire-brigade officials appear to have gotten used to getting their share of gold from Golden Chariot. So, public safety isn't exactly a priority. As the wise saying goes, "Apna kaam banta, toh bhaad mein jaye janta."

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

A defamation case against a flat-seeker?

Saturday, March 11, 2017
By Raju Vernekar

A flat seeker, who booked a flat in a housing complex Ekta Parksville in Virar West, is allegedly running from pillar to the post to get possession of the flat and states that the developers have filed a defamation suit against him.

According to the Vineet Malik, a resident of Gurgaon, Haryana, he had booked a flat at the construction Ekta Parksville in November, 2011 with an initial payment. Subsequently he says, he paid over Rs 27 lakh in installments covering cost of the flat, stamp duty, registration charges etc. According to Malik, he was given verbal assurance that the possession would be given in 2014. But when he got neither possession nor any assurance from the company, till late 2016, he began approaching concerned authorities. Malik says he is yet to get possession of the flat till date. Although the promoters should have specified the date by which the possession would be given in the agreement, as per the Maharashtra Ownership of Flat Act (MOFA) 1963, according to Malik, no date was mentioned.

In October 2016, Malik submitted a complaint to the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Dr Pradnya Sarawade, narrating his ordeal. He also filed a query under the RTI with the DG, Police. In response to the query, the Special IG Prabhat Kumar, on 3 November 2016, asked the Mumbai Police Commissioner to investigate the matter and file a report. Subsequently the Kherwadi police were asked to look into the matter, since the developer’s office is located at Bandra East. In turn Kherwadi police discussed the matter with Malik, giving him a promise to look into the matter. But according to Malik, the matter remained where it was.

Malik also alleges a violation of MOFA. The builder-buyer agreement, states that Upon possession of the said unit being delivered to the purchaser, the purchaser shall be entitled to use and occupy the said unit. Upon the purchaser taking possession of the said unit, the purchaser shall have no claim against the developer in respect of any item of work in the said unit or in the building or on the larger property which may be alleged to be defective or incomplete or undone.  Also, as per Section 3 of MOFA Act, the promoter has to specify in writing the date by which possession of the flat would be handed over. However the promoters, did not specify the date of possession of the flat and merely mentioned “As discussed”, Malik alleged.

When contacted API Raghvendra Kshirsagar of Kherwadi police station told Afternoon D&C that “apparently the case attracts MOFA because the flat seeker was not given possession of the flat in time. But since the housing complex is located at Virar, the case should be registered in Virar. As such we will consult our higher ups before transferring the case to Virar police station.He also mentioned that according to his knowledge the promoters are moving the court, in the matter.

When approached for their side of the matter, the company representative, in a telephonic conversation admitted that there had been delay in completing the project although some buyers have been given possession of the flat. However subsequently a PR consultant of the company, via e mail stated that the developer has filed a Special Civil Suit No.36 of 2017 against Malik since he himself had terminated the agreement related to the flat on 7 November, 2016 and he was offered a full refund of the money paid by him on 3 December, 2016. In light of this, he has allegedly has no right, title or interest in respect of the flat.

However in reply Malik maintained that he has not received notice of any such civil proceedings and the suit cannot be admitted by the Court unless he is given an opportunity to file a written response.

MOFA
The Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act-1963 has been superseded by the new Real Estate (Regulation & Development Act) 2016 (RERA), but MOFA is still in force in Maharashtra. In june 2016, the special inspector general of police Prabhat Kumar instructed police commissioners in the state to register complaints against errant builders who cheat flat buyers and violate building norms.

The circular said that complaints should be lodged against builders who fail to hand over possession on time to buyers and also the developers who deliver apartments without procuring the mandatory building occupation certificate. It also mentioned builders who build beyond the sanctioned plans or those who build illegally. The circular also sought action against developers who accept 20% of the flat price but do not register the agreement or those who fail to form a housing society within the stipulated four month, after handing over flats to buyers.

POSTED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY

Sulaiman Bhimani
9323642081
sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com 


Flat Sale or Leave & Licence? Jain "Charitable" Trust cheats Blind Flat-buyer

 Mumbai, 22nd February, 2017: It's a simple case of cheating and breach-of-trust by a Jain "charitable" trust called Vardhman Sanskar Dham (Trust Reg. no. 19790 – Mumbai). In 2007, Vardhaman Sanskar Dham purchased a flat in Nairut building, Rajiv Nagar, Virar, for Rs 4.30 lakh. Four years later, in 2011, the trust sold this flat to a blind man named Mr Jethmal Sonigra for Rs 13.19 lakhs, earning more than three times the amount that it had invested. However, although the first letterhead-receipt of the trust clearly shows that Mr Sonigra had paid for purchase of the flat (565 sq. ft. x Rs 2,600/-), the second letter says that this amount is a "deposit" against which "we have hand over possession for residence purpose".
Through this letter, this "charitable trust" is trying to say that allowing him to stay in this house was only a "charitable act" towards a blind man, and the money that he paid them – three times the price of the flat – was only a "deposit"!

Jethimal Sonigra and his daughter Pravina.
At first Sonigra did not suspect foul play. For over four years, Sonigra kept on pursuing the trustees to register the sale, and the trustees kept on postponing and evading him. In the course of this transaction and its follow-up, the blind man interacted with Mr Yogesh M Shah (chief trustee), Mr Jyotish N Kuwadia (trustee), Mr Bharat Sakaria (trustee), and Dineshbhai (retired trustee), who all kept passing the buck at one another.

In October 2016, Sonigra finally decided that enough was enough, and he sent the trust a formal letter through a lawyer requesting them to register a sale agreement. The trustees haven't replied in writing, but they have been telling the blind man that they will make a Leave-and-Licence agreement, but not a sale agreement! 
Now at the end of his tether after five years of chasing the trustees, Sonigra submitted a written complaint to Arnala police station. Surprisingly, it seems PSI Govle told him, after perusing the documents and speaking to CA Chetan Bal and other trustees, that he should be grateful to Vardhman Sanskar Dham and its charitable-minded trustees!
Read these documents and understand the facts of the case:
  1. 2007 - Registered Flat-Purchase Agreement between builder and Trust.
  2. 2011 - Letter of sale given to Sonigra on Trust letterhead.
  3. 2012 - Trust letter stating that it was giving the blind Jain (Sadharamik) man "possession" against a "deposit" because he required "accommodation".
  4. Oct 2016 – Lawyer's letter to the Trust asking them to register Sale Agreement.
  5. December 2016 – Sonigra's police complaint to Arnala Police Station
Vardhaman Sanskar Dham Trust has at least 10 flats in Nairut building alone, and 30 or more flats in surround areas in Virar. Some flats are held in the names of trustees. Quite a few flats are occupied by "charitable" occupants like Jethmal Sonigra.
How many more followers of Jainism has Vardhman Sanskar Dham exploited? Is this their regularmodus operandi?
Written with key inputs by Sulaiman Bhimani (9323642081)
ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY

Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

POSTED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY

Sulaiman Bhimani
9323642081
1) Read the emailed rebuttal of Vardhaman Sanskar Trust.

2) Read specific questions which the trustees declined to answer. 

Mumbai, 14th February, 2017: Horizon Green, the prestigious new Borivali East project, has huge issues. No real drainage system – that's a  serious problem we have written articles about. But there's a more serious worry for flat-purchasers, namely, not getting proper title to the purchased flat at Horizon Green. The confusion on who's legally the builder of Horizon Green -- Raheja, Bhoomi or Prashasti -- is like three men claiming to have fathered one child. On the municipal corporation's records, K Raheja is the builder. But Prashasti Enterprise is claiming to prospective flat-purchasers that it is the builder. And in between Raheja and Prashasti, there's the ghost of Bhoomi Constructions, a partnership that has been dissolved.

On paper, Bhoomi Constructions got the development rights in 2003 from K Raheja for building Horizon Green, and in turn assigned these development rights to Prashasti Enterprise in 2008. But that's only on paper; in real life, neither Bhoomi nor Prashasti exercised the said development rights, and Horizon Green was entirely built by the efforts of K Raheja through their company Tropicana Properties Pvt. Ltd. which was later changed to Palm Grove Beach Hotels Pvt. Ltd.

So, if you buy a flat in Horizon Green, it's like buying something from Chor Bazaar; pay the money, take the goods and don't ask uncomfortable questions!You get no warranties, no guarantees and no consumer rights. Between Raheja, Bhoomi and Prashasti, there is a defective and broken chain of title; then how can Prashasti transfer good title to a flat purchaser? Clearly, it can't! So, the flat-buyers cannot get clear title over their flats.

The whole realty market is giving conflicting versions on who is the developer. Home Realty says Horizon Green is a Bhoomi project. Mumbai Property Exchange lists it as a Prashasti project. Housing.com is promoting it as a K Raheja project.

The IOD, CC and OC were issued to K Raheja. MCGM's Occcupation Certificate was issued to Palm Grove Beach Hotels Pvt. Ltd. (a Raheja Group company) in April 2015. The stop-work notice and FIR filed in 2016 were also filed against Palm Grove. So, in the eyes of civic authorities, Palm Grove i.e. K Raheja is the builder.

But a flat-buyer is forced to enter into the flat-purchase agreement with Prashasti Enterprise, which is completely unrelated to K Raheja.

Prashati came into the picture by virtue of a doubtful and possibly illegal unregistered Agreement made in March 2008, which was reinforced by a Supplementary Agreement signed in June 2015, three months after the Occupation Certificate was issued to K Raheja. Bhoomi Constructions claims to got development rights from K Raheja vide an agreement made in January 2003, and transferred the same to Prashasti Enterprise.

The agreement between Bhoomi Constructions and Prashasti Enterprise is illegal and invalid. Why? Here are some reasons:

1) Can a dissolved partnership firm transfer any title or development rights formerly held by the firm? NO. When Bhoomi Constructions transferred the rights to Prashasti Enterprises by a stamped and registered supplementary agreement, the former had already been dissolved. How can the individual partners of a partnership firm that is no longer in existence, enter into (or ratify, confirm, stamp and register) any agreement and to transfer the development rights i.e. title that was held by the firm? This transfer is bad in law.

2) If development rights are not exercised by the entity holding it, can it claim to be the "developer"? NO. Development rights were never exercised by Bhoomi and Prashasti. Neither Bhoomi nor Prashasti exercised their development rights for building Horizon Green. From beginning to end of construction, the development rights were exercised by Palm Grove i.e. K Raheja. There isn't even one paper on record showing that Bhoomi Constructions or Prashasti Enterprise exercised the development rights.

3) Can an Association Of Persons act like a corporate entity? NO. Prashasti Enterprise is only an Association Of Persons (AOP), not a proper corporate or firm. It is neither a company nor a partnership firm, but an odd kind of association – a conglomerate of two natural persons (Mr Jayesh J Doshi and Mr Nirav B Mehta, apparently relatives of the owners of Bhoomi Constructions) and a corporate entity (M/s Prashasti Developers Pvt. Ltd.). In India, there is no special law applicable to an AOP, and therefore, there is no transparency in their dealings with the public or with government authorities. AOP is an entity under Income Tax Act, but it is generally unregulated, unaccountable, and difficult to hold legally liable.

Telling MCGM that Palm Grove is the builder and telling the flat purchaser that Prashasti is the builder -- that is itself cheating. Yeh 420 wala kaam hai! The three builder groups have deliberately colluded to create grey areas for everybody, in order to evade being held responsible by various law-enforcement agencies and judicial forums. (More details of this will be disclosed in future articles.)

WARNING TO POTENTIAL HOME BUYERS

If you are thinking of buying a flat at Horizon Green, ask yourself the question: if you have to go to consumer court for some reason, against whom will your make you claim for compensation -- K Raheja's Palm Grove Beach Hotels, Bhoomi Construction's individual partners or the Association of Persons called Prashasti Enterprise? Consult some chartered accountants and lawyers, and they will tell you that this is a grey area. Our courts take decades to decide even clear-cut cases where everything is black-and-white. If there are grey areas, you will have to run from pillar to post for many decades in search of justice.

Mr & Mrs Home Buyer, a flat in Horizon Green is like quicksand. So keep a safe distance, and don't get stuck in it.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

POSTED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Sulaiman Bhimani
9323642081
sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com