Yesterday, 65-year-old Sunita Naik was off to a fresh start under an old roof with a new family. She would no longer be sleeping on the footpath outside Sachkhand Darbar gurudwara in Versova, a place the former editor of a Marathi magazine has been calling home for over two months -- after mysteriously losing the millions she claims to have made with the sale of her two Worli apartments and cars in 2007.
Soon after the story appeared in Sunday MiD DAY, reader George Misquitta and his wife Christine decided to bring her to their apartment in Vile Parle (West), along with her pet Sashi, an ageing Pomeranian.
“The MiD DAY article gave me goosebumps and it was at that moment that I decided to request her to be part of our family, which incidentally includes 10 dogs. After meeting her the very morning the story appeared, we got her home yesterday,” said George, who leads a semi-retired life at 49, after having worked on an international Caribbean cruise liner in the US till some 10 years ago.
Her own space
Misquitta claimed he would soon refurbish his deceased father’s room for Naik, so that she gets her own space.
“We stay in an old building named after my grandmother. It is not in the best of condition. Till the monsoon lasts, she will have to adjust in our two-room flat. Soon I shall have the other room fixed, as it needs plastering and painting before she can move in,” he said.
Aspiring actor Brij Bhatnagar, a regular at the gurudwara and one of the first people to spot Naik and establish a bond with her, accompanied her to the new home in a rickshaw. He said he was concerned since Naik was moving in with an unknown family.
But speaking from the first floor flat at Petrose building, St Francis Road, Vile Parle, Naik seemed to have easily adjusted to the new environs, and the new family. Within an hour, she had memorised the names of all the dogs, who seem to have taken a liking to the new member in the house, the way they went about licking her.
“This is my first step towards returning to a normal life. I am brave, and have survived living on a footpath after enjoying many years of luxury. It’s a small family and the best thing is the dogs here, I simply adore them. At one time I had over 30 dogs, and I will tell you they make better friends than humans,” she said.
Cops watching over her
Around 3 pm on Monday, a team from the local police station tracked down Naik to her new home and took down her personal details, which would help them keep an eye on her. “We are here to record Naik’s statement and put her current location on our radar,” said an officer who did not wish to be named.