Lone landslide survivor becomes Madikeri’s pride

The tragedy took a massive toll on her mental health and she frequently nursed suicidal thoughts.
Pallavi
Pallavi

MADIKERI: She was a lone survivor in her family after a massive landslide razed her home in Madikeri in 2006. She was just 16 then. After years of struggle and through her grit and determination, she has now won a doctorate degree.

Before the tragedy struck, Pallavi lived with her mother and two siblings in a small house at Mangaladevi Nagar in Madikeri. Her mother Radha Bhat was a daily wager. On that fateful night, while they were sleeping, a massive landslide struck Mangaladevi Nagar, killing six people. Among the victims were Radha Bhat, Pallavi’s younger sister Jyothi, 14, and brother Abhishek, 12. Pallavi was the only surviving member.

“I was told about the death of my mother, sister and brother only a month after the tragedy. Initially, I was told that my mother and siblings were seriously injured and were being treated at a hospital in Mangaluru. Their last rites too were conducted without my knowledge. That was devastating,” Pallavi said.

The tragedy took a massive toll on her mental health and she frequently nursed suicidal thoughts. But her mother’s aspirations of her children getting a good education and speaking English kept Pallavi motivated and helped her come up in life.

“My uncle Sundar and aunt Rukmini supported me and inspired me to do well in studies. A handful of friends and a few wellwishers often visited me and kept prepping me up. My hobbies and reading motivational books too helped me overcome the challenges,” she said.

“I aimed to become independent. I had even applied for the civil services examination and Baby Mathew of Madikeri then helped me a lot. I can never forget the contributions of my school teachers, Sister Sicily and Narayan Gowda,” she said.

After the 2006 disaster, the district administration gave her a compensation of Rs 3 lakh. She used it to complete her degree course, but had to apply for a loan to pursue a masters degree in Commerce from Mangaluru University.

She has now been granted a doctorate degree for her thesis, “Bancassurance from an Indian Perspective - A comparative study between banks in Udupi & DK districts “, done under Dr Anasuya Rai’s guidance. Pallavi works as an assistant professor at Jain University.

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