Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Posted at: Aug 25, 2019, 6:40 AM; last updated: Aug 25, 2019, 9:58 PM (IST)

High on life, Dane to stay put

Married now-clean drug addict, wants to help others

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 24

An affluent Danish woman, who got in touch with a Gurdaspur junkie through a chatting website earlier this year and later married him, has now decided to make Punjab her permanent abode.

In January, Natasha Natalia Sommer, 27, met Malkit Singh, 33, a resident of Sundal village, through cyber space and later flew to India to meet him. Incidentally, her casual visit turned into a matrimonial alliance.

She has now got her Indian visa extended by a year. Earlier, she wanted to take her husband, now fully cured of heroin dependence, to her hometown Copenhagen. However, seeing the pitiable plight of the hundreds of youth trapped in the drug quagmire, she has changed plans and decided to stay put.

Her new mission is to persuade women, separated from their addict husbands, to start life afresh. She has already met scores of such harried women and impresses upon them to “shoot the message, not the messenger”.

“I tell these women not to vent their anger at their husbands. Instead, they should reform and rehabilitate them. The solution does not lie in divorce, but in taking them to de-addiction centres. Before marrying Malkit, I knew he was neck deep in heroin but I never left him. On the contrary, I had the courage to marry him and admit him to the local Red Cross centre run by Romesh Mahajan. Now, he is fully cured,” said Natasha.

Natasha’s family owns a slew of car garages and coffee shops in Copenhagen. She is a graduate and has also done a course in acting and singing from a prestigious institute named after Danish author HC Andersen. She has started educating school students on how “drugs can reduce their lives to hell”.

Natasha has plans to start a mobile de-addiction van. “I want the van to tour villages dotting the border where dependence on habit-forming substances has turned well-built and sturdy Punjabi youth into virtual skeletons. I also seek the help of the Punjab Government in this endeavour,” she said. “There are many separated couples roaming around in border villages and Natasha wants to help them,” Mahajan said.


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