The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Punjab dream dies in Calcutta

June 20: What could have been a Bunty-aur-Babli fairytale has ended in a Romeo-and-Juliet tragedy in Calcutta.

A young couple who left Kapurthala for Calcutta for a better life committed suicide by consuming poison on the premises of Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital.

Radha Kaur, 28, was found on the grounds on Tuesday night with husband Santokh Singh, 25, lying next to her, foaming at the mouth. He died around 10.30 am today.

With the help of Santokh’s dying statement and an interpreter, police have pieced together a story of unflinching love and doomed dreams.

“Santokh and Radha got married one-and-a-half years ago and on June 14, they left their ancestral village to settle in Calcutta. The couple sank into depression when Santokh failed to get any job here,” said Pradip Chatterjee, deputy commissioner of police, headquarters.

“Santokh was gasping. After asking him repeatedly, he uttered some words which we could not understand. We then traced a person who is familiar with the Punjabi dialect and took his help to understand what Santokh was saying,” said Chatterjee.

On Wednesday, the police came to know that Santokh, son of Didar Singh, was from Santanpur in Kapurthala district. “We have contacted the officer-in-charge of Santanpur police station and informed him,” an officer said.

Kapurthala SSP Rakesh Agarwal told The Telegraph that the locality is very large and it will take some time to trace the couple’s relatives.

Santokh told doctors and police that he had an affair with Radha for a couple of years — not very common in Punjab because he was three years younger to her.

“They left their families after getting married and Santokh started working as a manager in an outlet in Jalandhar that sells tyres. He found it difficult to earn enough to feed Radha and himself. He then decided to come to Calcutta and boarded the Amritsar Mail on June 14,” said the officer.

Police, however, said the place where the couple were staying since they arrived was yet to be known.

“Santokh did not disclose it,” said another officer, adding, “It seems that the couple spent all the money they were carrying during their three-day stay here and while searching for a job.”

In the film Bunty aur Babli, the young couple — the man played by Abhishek who in real life married an older Aishwarya Rai — flee the hinterland to make it big in life. In the mean streets, they survive on con jobs.

But Radha and Santokh chose a bottle of pesticide to end their tribulations.

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