Two years ago on September 13, 2010, Ishaan, son of international award winning filmmaker, Shonali Bose and NASA scientist –turned filmmaker, Bedabrata Pain, died of severe burns, caused by a defective Wahl’s Groomsman Beard and Mustache Trimmer. He was just 16, an 11th grade student at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, California, who excelled in Chess, Math and playing the piano. A young, bright life snuffed out brutally due to a faulty design.
I first met Ishaan, as a boy of 6, when Shonali and Bedo, friends of my husband, along with their 2 boys came to live with us for a few days on their trip to Boston 12 years ago. Of course, I do not have any memories of the child, but I can say that the worst nightmare for a parent is to outlive one’s children and even more so when they die a horrible death.
We bumped into Shonali last December in Rajasthan (we were staying at the same hotel). She had moved to Delhi with her mom to seek solace and recoup from the tragedy. Incidentally, when my husband was talking to her, she received the call from Anand Mahindra informing her that she was selected winner of the prestigious Sundance Academy Award, the only Indian to do so.
Shonali and Bedo filed a case against the Wahl Clipper Corporation for causing the death of their son. The trial started last month on August 28th. On the first day, the Company’s attorneys offered them a settlement of half a million dollars, which they refused and even tried to malign the boy’s character. Even though the fire department investigators confirmed that the only source of ignition in the bathroom where Ishaan was shaving was the shaver, in the end, the jury unanimously gave the verdict ‘not guilty’ due to lack of evidence.
Shonali and Bedo haven’t given up. They may have lost the case, but in Shonali’s words, the battle has just begun. This is her posting on her Facebook site:
“Today. Sep 13, is the 2nd anniversary of my first born Ishan’s passing from this earth. As his mother – I treat this day with utmost honor, as it signals the end of his amazing journey on earth. I do not mourn his loss on this day. Instead I am filled with peace, light and strength emanating from every corner of this vast universe – an energy that my son is now part of. He lifts me and holds me in his embrace and I feel beautiful inside and fortunate to have such a bond; to have such a son.”
Shonali has now decided to take on Wahl clipper by urging people worldwide to boycott their products.
A full feature can be found here: