Saturday, October 26, 2013

From A Landlord to Homeless


From A Landlord to Homeless

This is not fiction and my blog is not being posted for sympathy but for genuine help. 

I am a member of Inner Wheel Blossoms Trivandrum and today we had a medical camp project at Devaki Memorial Trust, accommodating patients who come for cancer treatment at Regional Cancer Institute, Trivandrum. The medical camp was for the by-standees of the patients. 

As the by-standees joined us for the check-up, a frail, quite elderly aunty politely refused a chair to sit. She said they are from Palakkad and are here for her husband's psychiatric treatment and also had a cast to join a hand fracture. The pharmacies are refusing to sell her medicines as the prescription is more than a year old and were here to see if our team of doctors could help with a new prescription. 

I ushered her to one of our panel members but was wondering why they are in Trivandrum ... I got talking to Padmini aunty of the shelter who said, they are here not for cancer treatment. 

They are here because their son ABANDONED them in Trivandrum a month back.  

Here is there story, put together as narrated by 82 year old Mr. R.C Menon (Ramachandran Menon), H/O Leela Menon and S/O Unni Anniyan Raja... they hail from Calicut but for generations have been in Kopam, Palakkad. 

Born in 1930, Mr. R. C Menon joined Air Force. After four years of service, his father who was a powerful landlord with endless paddy fields called his son back from service. Menon uncle completed his BSc while helping his dad, got married. Got blessed with a son, Remesh and daughter Rema.

His eyes lit up when he narrates how he encouraged his daughter to study beyond graduation but she wanted to get married. He married her off with all wealth given to an only daughter and today she is settled in Pudhupariyarum, Palakkad after her husband retired from Forest Office as Range Officer, Nilambur.

His son did not proceed beyond Std 10th. He grew up to be his destiny to being a homeless today. According to Menon uncle, he says his son is a loafer (sic). He says his son's careless attitude made him a mental patient and is today under treatment. Leela aunty said they had to sell of their property to treat uncle’s severe depression. Her eyes are grey and dilated as any 72 year old. It moves to see those eyes well up and voice trail as she says we were very well off once. 

After selling all their property, they moved from Palakkad to Guruvayoor and stayed there for 10 years. When living got tough, they approached Chemmanur Bobby to ask if they could be accommodated at his poor home in Chennai. They were taken to Chennai and stayed there till Menon uncle fractured his arm two months back. When their son heard they are in a good place, knew they might have money to spare and promised to take care of them. He brought them to Trivandrum Medical College, a month back.

The 82 year old uncle and 73 year old aunty were evicted from their hotel room when their son absconded. The homeless couple had nowhere to go but to Medical College police station. They had only one request: not to separate them when putting them into poor homes. 

Padmini aunty of Devaki shelter said they cannot keep Menon uncle and Leela aunty for more time here as its to house cancer treatment patients and bystanders. I asked uncle and aunty where they want to go. Their eyes welled up when pleading NOT to send them to their daughter's place. Their relatives have ignored them. They have relatives all over Calicut, Palakkad region. Uncle's treatment is with Dr. Jyothi K.S of Medical College, Trichur. 

Hence, both of them want to go back to where they feel safe… not Palakkad but Trichur. 

My soul shook as I heard of this cancer of abandoning aged parents by their children. Aunty's frail frame is determined to support her husband, who still holds his head high and speaks impeccable English.  

My quest has begun: to find an old aged home in Trichur. To see their remaining few years are spend with dignity and see a quiet sunset to their life. Even if it takes numerous phone calls or even visits, with a little help from anyone of you with details of such old age homes. 

I got their daughter, Rema's phone number but she never answers any call I made. I spoke to uncle’s Dr, who confirmed all the details but asked me to call him again on Monday. Aunty's frail body shook in deep sobs that were held back as we got up to leave. They did not want to let go of my hand.... esp. after we came to know Kozhipuam, Vappala, Pannikode families of mine were closely related to Uncle's family - Kunnath of Calicut and aunty’s who knows many in Ottapalam, my native place. 

I am mentioning the family names here not to flaunt them but to see if any reader of this page would know even a nano detail about uncle and aunty.  

They will not be send out of Devaki shelter till their desired old aged home is found in Trichur, confirmed Padmini aunty. I will visit them ever week. 

Please dislike any of your friends who are not taking care of their aged parents and are living a cushion life. Please distance those who ignore the frail hands that once held theirs while crossing roads or feeding them. This is a new type of cancer – abandoning aged parents. My fight against it begins today….

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have heard and seen similar stories where fathers give all thier wealth including ancestral to their daughter and end up like this. In kerala if rich parents are sure they will not give their son anything, it is better to put them in orphanage at a young age. At least they will not be spoiled by their wealth and learn to stand in their own feet. I wont blame the son without knowing his current financial status.
--cs.

Vinod (nurani_vinod@hotmail.com) said...

I happened to visit this blog by chance. I am so moved by what you have written. I could literally feel what the uncle and aunty would be going through.

I feel so grateful that you are doing all this to help them and feel handicapped that I can't do much sitting much away from Kerala. Still, please let me know on how I can help or assist you.

Nisha said...

First of all, Well Done Karthika!!! It takes a lot of courage to take up the cause of others. I am happy to know that there are people who have their hearts at the right place.

It was just a couple of days a ago that the TV channels aired the news of parents being abandoned at Guruvayur temple premises. It suggests that this cancer, as you rightly termed it, is malignant and needs severe treatment.

I hope that the aged couple can find a shelter to spend their rest of life peacefully... shall try and do my little bit to help the cause..

Sunitha Kaumathil said...

Thank you Karthika! I wish we had more karthika's in this world then there would be fewer people committing this crime.

Please let me know how I can help.

nimmy said...

Thank you Karthika for posting this beautiful story.May God forgive all those children who talk back and raise their hands and voice against their parents and parents in law too. My only prayer for them is 'Lord forgive them, for they know not what they do.'

RAGHU MENON said...

Came to this site thru' Nisha's reference-
It is not only in Guruvayoor, I had seen similar crowd in Aranmula and Ettumaanoor temples - I had spent some hours sitting beside them hearing their conversations, without
my presence known to them - Some are world war vetarans bragging their
war experience and good pold days-
Some talking their illtreatments of their children - Croud is similar in all these places -
Appreciate your initiation -

Jayaprabha said...

Hi karthika ,,

Prabha here. hope u remember me.

Good attempt from your side . Enquired a lot about a suitable place for them at thrissur and heard from a friend of mine that Ramakrishna mission at Thrissur might be able to help them .Providing below their contact details. please get in touch with them.

Ramakrishna Math
P.O. Puranattukara, Dt. Thrissur, Kerala 680551
India
Phone : 0487-230 8219
Telefax : 0487-2304944
Email : rkmtsr@gmail.com

Sub Centre(s)

Ramakrishna Ashrama
Vivekananda Vijnana Bhavan
Punkunnam, Dt. Thrissur, Kerala 680002
Phone : 0487-238 1080

I also told about this case to my neighbour aunty, who have retired from HINDU as senior editor. She too have agreed to spread the word through her social media contacts.

By the time i'll also try to get details of more such places at thrissur.

Regards,
Jayaprabha

karakuni shafnaz said...

Really good job Karthika , and may God bless you for your benevolence activities --

Aparna said...

Hi Karthika!

Shanthiteeram in Thrissur is a good place. I had gone there last month. Remember meeting an old couple there. Place is neat and clean. It's run by Dr Thulasi Bai. It's near the Daya hospital. Their website address is http://shanthitheeram.org/index.php

Aparna(Durga'ssister)

Aparna said...

Hi Karthika!

Shanthiteeram in Thrissur is a good place. I had gone there last month. Remember meeting an old couple there. Place is neat and clean. It's run by Dr Thulasi Bai. It's near the Daya hospital. Their website address is http://shanthitheeram.org/index.php

Aparna(Durga's sister)

Max Thomas said...

22Hello Karthika,

I am deeply moved by your blog. I am a 24 year old, hailing from Kerala. More often than not, We come across such articles in the newspapers these days.

I am from a middle class family, never felt the 'real' pain of earning my own bread till this date. Its the shear hard work of my Dad and Mom, that I am able to get good education and may be further..I salute and respect my parents for their love. I hope nothing in this world takes that away from me.

My suggestion to all my friends..
Please, please value our parents. They shed their lives for us. N lets do the least to make them laugh and breath happy when they are at the end of their journey.
After all, We all are the Future 'Old ones'.

Suggestion to my parents..
Please don't love your kids to that extend that you don't have a house for yourself. You deserve to live peacefully at your place. After all, its these precautions that can differentiate from a spoilt brat and a HUMAN.

My sincere love to all who are in need of it.. Especially the ones mentioned in the blog.

I cant afford to pay anything now.. But I definitely would spare few moments to pray for them.

God Bless..
I love you both.

Regards,
Max Thomas

Ben said...

How do I help /What support are they looking for now?

Naren said...

Hi Krithika,
Thank you for sharing this very touching story. Time and again I have been hearing and seeing how elders have been treated in our society these days. Somewhere I read that the sign of a healthy civilization is based on how elders are treated in each and every household. I am wondering whether few of us can commit to support them till they live. Probably rent them a small place and get them a maid and take care of their expenses. I am willing to contribute my part if few others can join. Please let me know.
narenveeranna@gmail.com

Dhanya said...

Hi Karthika, I am married into Vappala family in ottappalam and there is a group in facebook for the Vappala family members. If you want to trace their relatives posting there might help. But if they don't want to go back to relatives, we can look for some old age homes in thrissur. I know few where I sponser meals for my my parent's memory. Some are run by corporation. Should check the the admission procedure there. There are some private ones also. But they take heafty admission fee :(