Berhampur (Odisha): Neighbours have no words to console 60-year-old Sarojini Padhy, who has lost her husband, three sons and a daughter, in a suspected "food poisoning" incident.
Sarojini`s house in Pandara street here was a happy home till Sunday morning, until tragedy struck. Her husband, three sons and daughter complained of severe stomach pain, which proved fatal.
Her eldest son, Prasanta, fell ill on Monday and is battling for life at MKCG Medical College and Hospital.
They had all eaten `chakuli pitha` (a special food item of Odisha) on Saturday night, while Prasanta had it on Sunday morning. Sarojini did not have the food. Doctors suspect the family members died of food poisoning.
Sarojini refused to narrate the incident. "My life has no meaning now," she said.
As fate would have it, there was no family member to cremate the deceased. Some local youths pitched in. "A happy family was ruined within two days," said Badri Narayan Nayak, a social activist of the area.
While the sons were into fast food and soft drink business, her daughter, a school-dropout, used to help in household chores. Sarojini`s husband Bhubani Padhy helped his sons in business. One of her married daughters has arrived in town, while another settled in Bangalore is expected to arrive soon.
"Some poisonous insect might have infected the `pitha` batter," said a neighbour. The batter is prepared in the open by grinding black gram and rice with stones, he added.
Doctors are trying to ascertain the exact cause of death. "It can be known only after the viscera tests of the deceased are carried out," said superintendent of the medical college AK Behera.