Cast off by kin, woman battles blindness, paralysis, trauma

Of late, tough lot has been the only companion of 78-year-old Tara Palicha. Marooned years ago by her once-wealthy family, she was eventually forced to live out of Kalyan railway station, from where she was brought back to more wholesome environs by a group of good Samaritans in October 2011. Recently, she was operated for cataract in one of her eyes, but now she is losing vision in both the eyes. She has also been diagnosed with facial palsy. Her family hasn’t called on her yet.

No quarter for old women: Tara Palicha after she underwent a surgery at Sridevi hospital in Thane last November. File pic  

The now impoverished and ailing woman was once a matriarch of a prosperous household in Kalbadevi. She was a teacher. As the family’s fortunes started dwindling, she was kicked out of her home. MiD DAY had reported about her stay at Kalyan platform (‘Abandoned by rich sons, old lady rescued from streets’, November 9, 2011), where Bhavesh Mehta, one of the men who helped her, spotted her. After that, help poured in from all corners to get her back on her feet.

Mehta and his friend Narendra Goyal, the two men who helped Palicha initially, were upset that even though help had come from strangers, her family members did not come forward to offer any kind of aid. The situation is no different now.

“We expected Palicha’s family would at least call or inquire about her, but that has not happened. In the last few months, she has been fighting with her health condition. First, we got her treated for the deep wounds she sustained owing to her stay on the Kalyan platform. Then we got her operated for cataract in an eye, but that hasn’t helped her regain vision,” said Bhavesh Mehta.

Palicha has been diagnosed with glaucoma, which is fast claiming her ability to see.

“Owing to the mental and physical trauma she has borne, her psychological state is not good either. The workers at the ashram where she is residing told us that she wakes up screaming in the night about her dead daughter. To help her stabilise, we have started consulting a neurologist and a psychiatrist. We pray she pulls through,” said Bhavesh with a heavy voice. 

Tara’s first surgery had happened on October 31, 2011 at Sridevi Hospital, Thane (West). After the surgery, the bill touched Rs 70,000.

Later, on November 8, the old woman underwent a second surgery. The cost of hospitalisation has been escalating. So the group of 7-8 friends is splitting the cost. 

They are also trying to enlist the help of NGOs and other organisations that could offer some financial aid. 

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