KOCHI: Devika means ‘little goddess’ in Sanskrit. The pall of gloom that descended on the Government Girls HSS, Ernakulam, where Devika Shalan had studied, indicated what she meant to fellow students and teachers. She was good as a person and gifted as a student.
The 17-year-old Plus-II commerce student met with a tragic end on Wednesday night after spurned lover Mithun P U set her ablaze.
Her classmates and friends at school rushed to her single-bedroom house at Athani near Kakkanad even before her body was brought after postmortem examination. “She was very friendly and always positive,” said a friend.
Devika did a commendable job as school leader, but paid heavily for the habit of keeping her sorrows to herself. “Had she shared her despair at least with the class teacher, we could’ve saved her,” said School Principal V Nalinakumari. “A love affair is not at all wrong, but when the relationship strained, she must’ve kept it as a secret fearing about police case and consequences.”
School PTA president Shibu P Chacko said: “We’re planning to offer counselling to students because we don’t want to see another girl suffer.”
For Devika’s parents Shalan and Molly, she was a ray of hope. She had lit up their small house which they had built in 4.5 cents with the help of the SNDP Yogam’s self-help group. A former construction labourer, Shalan has been working of late as a real estate agent and Molly as a daily-wage worker at the Collectorate.
Shalan might soon recover from burns he suffered during the incident, but the pain of having lost his lovely daughter will linger in his mind for the rest of his life. For, she was his little goddess.