While sipping the machine coffee in my office I was whiling time at a table in the pantry when my eyes fell on the front page of Mumbai Mirror. The pictures themselves were too depressing, an old woman sitting upon an ugly bed in an equally shabby room. On the floor was a blood stained bed sheet. I imagined it to be the same old story of murder, theft or some cruel relation. Not much of a morning read for me. Hence I hurried with my coffee & went to my cubicle to start my day. Lunchtime came & the newspaper hadn’t moved from the table. This time however, I did read it. More because I was alone & had no one to yap with than for any other reason.
The story was about a 100 year old woman named Flame who was living in a small room above some church in south Bombay. Flame was an ex – employee of CEAT who was living with her 70 year old daughter in a one room flat. This room was given to her while she was working by the church which she refused to vacate. Flame is bed – ridden. Her 70 year old daughter died of a heart attack 2 days back. Flame kept calling for help for 2 days but no one heard her cries. After 2 days, when the corpse started decomposing & stinking the neighbors complained of some foul smell coming from the house. The rot they say was unbearable. The police broke into the house when nobody answered their calls. Flame sat on her bed. Her daughter lay in the pool of her own blood on the floor.
The corpse has been moved to the morgue; however it cannot be cremated for a min. 7 days more. Procedures state that the municipality has to wait for 7 days; in case somebody comes forward to claim the body; only then can the move ahead with the cremation. The police plan to move Flame to some old – age home. Flame has a younger daughter who is somewhere in the USA. However she is no longer in touch with her mother.
A follow up of this story was printed 2 days later in the same newspaper. The corpse is still awaiting a relative. No old age home is ready to take in Flame as she is bed ridden. The daughter in the USA cannot be contacted. Flame has a brother as well; however he has refused to help. At present, the church authorities have locked up Flame in her own house. They say it’s for her own security as she is bed ridden & hence could become an easy victim for robbers, etc.
I have no comments to make on this article. However it does make me think…it makes me think a lot! God bless Flame…..not with life (as is what is asked from God most often); I feel more life for her would be being extremely cruel; death is definitely a better option.
The original article is here