The year 2009, 18th January. It was the day before my English test, when suddenly my mother came and gave me this sad news- Gaurav is no more!
I was shell-shocked, Gaurav (name changed), my classmate, I had just seen him yesterday, and he looked perfectly fine; I was numb, and for a moment, I was completely blank. I quickly called my friends and gave them the news, just like me they too couldn’t believe that Gaurav is no more.
Without wasting any further time, we all went to his house. There it was, his lifeless body lying on the floor, covered with a white sheet of cloth. He was just 17 and the topper of our class, a bright student, what happened to him, how did he…?
We were told that he died due to overdose of diluter addiction! Yes, you read it right, whitener or the correction fluid used for correcting mistakes, that’s what he overdosed on. In 2009, the rate of deaths due to whitener, dendrites, or any other organic solvent was significantly high—one of the main reasons- the easy availability of such materials.
Like Gaurav, there were several other noticeable cases of whitener addiction. It’s cheap and easily available; it’s no surprise that so many youths are addicted to it.
During the year 2009, the no. of deaths due to whitener-inhaling was rising rapidly. The victims usually believed that these addictive materials would help them cope with their problems at home, academic pressure, and other added responsibilities like scoring good marks.
For example, in the case of the homeless kids at the Delhi Railway station, they earn their living by selling empty bottles from the train. But, during winters, their condition becomes worse, and to sustain the cold weather, they sniff “thinners.” According to them, it makes them feel warm and helps them survive the bitter cold of Delhi.
Second is the case of Neha Gowswami (name changed), who, out of excitement and zeal to explore new things, became prey to these life-taking solvents. She tried it for once on an experimental purpose, and then it became a regular habit. But who should be blamed for this?? Family, for not communicating well with their children, putting constant pressure on scoring good or the environment they are mixing with, or the shops selling these addictive materials to these kids?
Solvents like “Diluter” and “Dendrite” tend to give a sudden kick when it reaches the lungs and affects the brain and the nervous system, causing an hour-long hallucination which, according to them, is really enjoyable. Unaware that it’s causing harm to their nervous system and causes dizziness, blurred visions, etc.
This form of addiction is still practiced in many parts of India and is commonly seen among slum children and rich brats. Instead of putting a ban on beef or blaming an adult entertainer for rapes, our government should spread awareness regarding these addictive solvents. It’s everyone’s duty, even the shopkeepers, to be alert and never sell “whiteners” or “Dendrites” to children below 20. Practically it’s not possible to ban these materials, so it’s the duty of every individual to create awareness about its effect and consequences.
Today it’s someone else, but tomorrow it can be your son or daughter!