Grieving mother’s heartache: ‘I found him on the kitchen floor’

2018-01-10 12:01
PHOTO: Rowan Ward

PHOTO: Rowan Ward

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In January 2016, Akshay Maharaj and his mother Nirupa spoke to YOU about his struggle with depression, after he was victimised and bullied for his sexuality.

With his mom’s unwavering love and support, things seemed to be looking up for Akshay. But just months after we met with them, tragedy struck.

Now Nirupa is battling to come to terms with the loss of her bright, beautiful boy.

She tells her story.

“I was there when he was bullied. I was there when he confessed he was gay. I was there through his depression. I was there through all his suicide attempts. And I was there in the tragic end.

For the article published on 14 January 2016 in YOU Magazine, “I’m Here For My Son”, we talked about Akshay and his journey as a gay young man in our society.

He was 33 at the time. The reason for the article was to firstly show parents that we cannot abandon our children irrespective of the differences in them. We covered much of Akshay’s childhood where he was bullied terribly, especially at school. Akshay struggled with depression and made several attempts on his life.

But in 2016 as the depression progressed, Akshay slowly gave up on life and slid into a dark hole. But he continued his wonderful work as a make-up artist. He just got up and went to work daily, smiling, laughing, pretending that all was good with life.

And then he would come home a completely different person, all down and dark. Akshay was loved by many, he emanated light wherever he went. He was always comforting others with problems and quite forgot that he had many of his own.

He continued to take his medication – which to me made no difference. And so the year 2016 passed us by. 

On the 28 December, Akshay was in a catatonic state with all his medication and decided to take a walk on the beach. There he was robbed and beaten. 

It was a painful day when the police arrived at my door with my badly beaten child.  He obviously had to be taken to hospital to be treated for the wounds and was then sent to a physciatric hospital where he stayed for almost 10 days.

Three days after the robbery, we discovered Akshay’s bank card had been cloned and every cent had been taken out of the account.

This, of course, stressed out Akshay even more as we had no access to money and when we entered 2017.

In December 2016, three months before Akshay passed, he said, “Mum, I want to live on my own, I need my space.”

As always, I would never allow him to live too far from me, so I could keep an eye on him. So I managed to get him an apartment in my block, nine floors below me.

I will never forget that month – he was so happy. We shopped for his new home, had it furnished and he seemed okay. I still saw him every day as we used to have dinner together.

He continued to go to work but I could see he was sliding. During the month of January 2017, he was in and out of hospital with the depression. One week before his passing, he sent me a long message telling me how much he loved me, thanked me everything that I’ve done for him, wishing me well and how I needed to be strong and continue to help all those in need. 

At the end of the message, he said, “Goodbye, Mum, I don’t want to talk to you.”

As his mother, I thought he needed some space and would give it to him until he needed me again.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. On 21 February 2017, the most horrific, painful experience occurred. It was 7am and on that dreadful morning, my mother’s intuition kicked in and I went to his apartment.

Even at the door my boy protected me from entering (some little voice in my head said STOP!). I called the police, and oh my god, that breaking down of the door still shrieks in my head.

I found him on the kitchen floor. There he was in a sitting position – and to me it looked like he had fallen and hurt himself.

The rest is pretty much unclear as a few hours later I had to be told that he is no more. Apparently, he slipped on a glass of water and hit this temple on the edge of the sink. That was how my beautiful Akshay passed away.

It has been a very difficult 10 months for me, but I decided that this is what my boy would want is for his mum to help as many people as himself from the tragic end.

I have since been very passionate and active, where I have done articles, radio interviews to pass a message around that parents need to be more accepting and so does society.


Parents need to keep communication open and listen to their children, in this busy place with busy lives, children are often ignored until something drastic happens.

My sole purpose now is to launch a foundation in memory of Akshay, start a support group for LGBTs, so they can also find their place in society and educate all on. I am currently writing a book and have just completed a book of poems, which I hope to publish soon.

I believe that if I could help one human being, I’ll have succeeded.”

This story was submitted to YOU and has been minimally edited. Do you have a story you want to share? E-mail it to

Read more on:    pain  |  mother  |  depression

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