This did really happen: my informant has first-hand knowledge of the events. Imagine a happily married couple and a snake in the grass in the form of her mother, who intensely dislikes her son-in-law. The wife goes to her mother’s house for a few days. On one of those days, the husband calls his wife and she cuts the call — all of sixteen times. A little later, he tries again thrice, with the same result.
His next act is to send a one-word SMS — “goodbye” — to his wife and commit suicide. It emerged later that his mother-in-law had commandeered her daughter’s phone and cut the calls. Was the husband a fool? Not necessarily — he may have been in an emotionally fragile state, and the cut calls may have been the last straw on the camel’s back.
What made this tragic tale more poignant is that I learned about it at the funeral of another young life cut short. The burial ground was next to a field where boys were playing a noisy game of cricket. Their lusty shouts of excitement were the backdrop to the wails of the mourners.
It was as though an urgent message was being beamed at us: Come what may, life must carry on.