A class topper, speaker par excellence and a hard worker. This is how the family and friends of S Subikha describe the 15-year-old girl from Sivaganga district who took her own life on Monday. The bright student belonged to a modest family. Her father who rides an auto rickshaw for a living, says he never allowed financial difficulties to limit her academic and extra-curricular achievements.
She had won the first prize in a speech competition held by the MGR university for school students in 2017 and had received the prize from Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami himself.
But the pressure of following online classes and attempting to understand subjects in her 10th standard made her worried, says her family.
Speaking to the media, her father said that as the difficulty of subjects increased, Subiksha had become more withdrawn from the family.
"She would wake up at 4.30 am, study and then attend online classes. After that she went back to sleep at only 11.30 pm. She was continuously studying and stopped talking to us," says her father Satyamurthy.
And while they were concerned, they did not realise how affected she was.
"She was the kind of girl other parents would ask peers to emulate," says Jayamurugan, Subikha's older cousin. "The problem was that she didn't know to vocalise what she was feeling. None of us even knew that there was an issue and she didn't tell us she was under any kind of pressure. Infact she was attending one of these online classes when she told her mother she was going to the bathroom. And when she didn't come back for a long time, they went to check and found her dead," he adds.
Her cousin says the death has left the family devastated.
"She was so bright and smart. She could write poems, debate and speak well. We didn't expect something like this. Her parents are inconsolable," he says.
Subiksha is atleast the third student in the last two months to have taken her own life, over difficulties in learning caused by online classes.