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Vidarbha widow strikes it rich

Two years after her husband committed suicide after being unable to repay a Rs 50,000 loan, Aparna Malekar has won R6.4 lakh on TV show -- enough to pay off her debt
 
'Sweet are the uses of adversity', or so the Bard said. For 27-year-old widow Aparna Malekar (in pic), however, it can at best be termed 'bittersweet'. Two years ago, Malekar was plunged into a sea of turmoil when her husband, a farmer, gave in to despair and committed suicide under financial duress, leaving her to shoulder the burden of a Rs 50,000 debt. To add to her troubles, she was now solely responsible for the sustenance of her two children. For the next two years, she braced a life of uncertainty, working ceaselessly to provide for her little ones. A few days ago, however, Lady Luck finally came calling, in the form of an opportunity to participate in Kaun Banega Crorepati. In a miraculous turn of events, she won Rs 6,40,000, enough to pay back the debts.
Malekar was one of the 10 widows from Vidarbha, whose names were recommended for the show by President of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samity, Kishore Tiwari.

She was shortlisted by the KBC team, who arranged for her air tickets and her stay at a city hotel.

Realising that chances like this one didn't present themselves too often, the gritty school dropout, who had educated herself through distance education, decided she was to make the most of this window of opportunity.

Malekar recalled the tribulations faced by her husband Sanjay Malekar, who took a loan from a local bank before their marriage, so he could produce cotton, soyabean and tur dal on a leased 10-acre farm spread. In a tragic reversal, the uneven monsoons led to poor quality yield, causing him to incur heavy losses. Soon came the legal notice, threatening action if the loan amount was not repaid. Hounded by despair, Sanjay left home at the crack of dawn on August 21, 2008, never to return. Malekar later learnt that he had consumed poison. After her husband's demise, Malekar began a life of continuous hardship. Wanting to equip herself with a degree, she obtained admission into the Yashwantrao Chavan Open University.

"I had never dreamt of being on the show. I had heard great stories about Mumbai. I was so afraid off falling from a height when the plane took off!" she said.

She added, "Amitabh Bachchan was very down-to-earth, and he made me feel very comfortable, asking me to relax and putting me at ease."

Fresh plans
Malekar now plans to repay the debt she owes, and set an example for other widows like her. She said, "I have to wait for two months before the cheque with the winning amount is delivered to me.  I have requested the KBC team not to deduct taxes, but I do not know the exact amount that I will finally be awarded. I have been told that the episode will be aired on September 29. I want my daughters to complete their studies, and will keep a part of money stored as fixed deposit, so it can be used for their higher education."

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