M A I N   N E W S

90-year-old abandoned by four sons
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
His feet are cold as his heart; his eyes heavy with grief. They stare into far distances as if waiting for someone to arrive — someone who would spare him a kind glance and, may be pause to ask if all was well with him.

But no one has the time to see how a 90-something Ram Chand is sinking into oblivion without a sound or the slightest trace. Thousands of commuters daily halt at Mohali’s VI phase bus stop — Ram Chand’s home of 30 days — but no one halts for him nor does anyone appear from far distances…

Not even his four sons whose lives he had so fondly nourished with the sweat of his brow. And when it was their turn to nourish his, they conveniently deserted him, divesting him of all the pride he ever possessed. In all probability, they abandoned him at the bus stop while in transit and did not even return to see if he was dead or alive.

Condemned to an insignificant corner for over a month, Ram Chand can barely gather the energy to recall or narrate his story. It is the nearby food and juice vendors who tell of his gradual decline. “We have been watching him for a month. No one from his family has come looking for him. When he came he was barely clothed and had no money, but was moving around normally. For a week now, he has been lying in the bus stop, practically with no will to survive,” said Dhan Singh, a nearby food vendor.

Under tremendous emotional and physical stress, Ram Chand has lost the capacity to walk. There are sores all over his legs, most probably caused by repeated falls. With nowhere to go and nothing to look forward to, he would well have perished had it not been for Ms Parveen Sharma, a lady in the neighbourhood who has been feeding him regularly.

Clinging hard to the remnants of his wounded pride, Ram Chand accepts food only from Parveen Sharma who has also given him a coat to fight the night chill. She tells The Tribune: “For three days, he has been returning the food. He is only surviving on tea to resist cold. His condition is getting worse by the day.”

The man, for his part, utters few words of which fewer are comprehensible. The references that stand out are, “My house is located near a pole. I have four grown up sons who are very poor. They have no time to take care of me. I think I was destined to be served by Parveen alone. I can’t contest God’s will. But I hope he sends my sons back.”

Ram Chand makes weak submissions to God every day. He made one today also, and asked us if we could find his sons. Just when we were about to take his leave, he took out a slip of paper from his pocket and made an attempt to read the writing on it. “This slip bears the first word my youngest son learnt to write in Hindi. Can you read it for me?” he asked.

The word written on the slip was “Ghar”. Breaking into tears, Ram Chand said, “Mera ghar to kagzaon mein hi rah gaya…”

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