Shobit was 13 when he started sniffing glue

Illustrations by Siddhant Jumde
Reporting by Roshni Nair

January 29, 2016

Shobit Gupta*, 13,
Student at a private school in Mumbai

Rajdeep, 42,
Shobit's father, a radio officer with the Indian Navy

Meera, 39,
Shobit's mother, a homemaker

Dr. Ashish Deshpande,
Psychiatrist and psychotherapist

Shobit Gupta began sniffing correction fluid and glue at 13, and soon found himself addicted to cannabis. In a haze, he would often listen to music; with early counselling, music became his way back to his family and a normal life.

Shobit grew up not understanding why his dad had to leave for months at a time.

When he found out he was adopted, at age 8, his sense of confusion grew.

By the time he was 13, Shobit was staying out all night, had stopped talking to his mom, and had fallen in with bad company.

That same year, neighbours found him lying dazed in the building parking lot.

Rajdeep took leave and flew home immediately, and the parents staged an intervention.

It would take nearly five years of individual and group counselling before Shobit was declared well.

Music was the key to family reconciliation. His parents nurtured his talent, bought him a piano and guitar, and specialised DJ-ing equipment once he was out of school and set up acoustics in his room so that he could channel his energies into something productive.

Shobit, now 20, works on background scores for films, and Dr. Deshpande describes him as 'at his happiest'. They still talk on the phone. Shobit often says he wouldn't be where he is today if the intervention hadn't come as early as it did.

Note: *Name changed to protect identity. Story as told to reporter by Dr. Ashish Deshpande.

Design and Development: Gurman Bhatia