As long as we’re talking about bathtubs on Horror Show Sunday, let’s keep the ball rolling. This week, we look at the case of Pallavi Dhawan, a 38 year old Hindu woman living outside of Dallas, Texas, who is accused of killing her 10-year old son Arnav and then keeping him in the bathtub following Hindu final rites.
Of course, the mother claims she never harmed her son. “I did not hurt Arnav. I did not kill Arnav. I did not murder Arnav. I did not drown or smother Arnav. I did not poison Arnav, I did not fail to render aid to Arnav at any time, most importantly, I loved Arnav with all of my heart and never would hurt him in any way…”
Yet she’s still been arrested for murder because when police arrived at her home, she said she killed her son and changed her story later. Pallavi and her husband Sumeet claim this is a case of cultural misunderstanding, that their son suffered from microcephaly, a condition that causes an abnormally small head and can lead to a shortened lifespan. She says that he died in his sleep and after being unable to revive him, she packed him in ice in the bathtub as her religious beliefs commanded her to do. She left him in the bathtub, covered in ice, while she read Hindu scriptures over the body for four days. Unfortunately, doing so may have actually killed her son. The coroner’s report lists the cause of death as indeterminate, but if he was still alive, packing him in ice certainly would have killed him by lowering his core body temperature. Had she simply called 911 when she found her son, things might have turned out differently, but of course, we’ll never know, she kept it a secret from everyone, including her husband, until it was definitely too late.
Now I can understand her agony at the discovery of her son’s body. I get it. It’s her response to the situation that makes no sense to rational people. This isn’t a cultural misunderstanding, it’s a matter of her culture and her religious beliefs being stupid. When finding a person in distress, your first move isn’t to throw them in the bathtub with all the ice from your ice maker, it ought to be to seek immediate medical attention. That’s what normal, rational people do. She was neither. You can chalk some of that up to grief, but even in grief, intellectual people don’t do what she did. It was her idiotic religion that sealed her son’s fate. Maybe nothing could have been done, maybe he died of natural causes due to his condition, but her actions guaranteed that he could not have been saved, regardless of the circumstances.
That’s why, once again, stupid religious beliefs land this story on Horror Show Sunday.