On the night of November 27, 2016, Dawinder Singh dropped a bottle of sleeping pills outside his neighbor’s door. He had a soft, cheerful face, a head of woolly curls, and a tendency to laugh at the wrong times. Everyone in Kakheri, his village in the northern Indian state of Haryana, believed him to be gone, perhaps abroad. But here he was, a handkerchief tied over his mouth as if he were a bandit, fleeing to the bus stop.
Inside the house, Neetu Rani, the birdlike beauty he’d grown up adoring, was waiting for her parents to finish their soap opera. Neetu was trim and stylish, and talked about Bollywood actors as though they were her next of kin. When her mother and father went to bed, she went outside to retrieve the pills.