After spending seven months on the streets, an ailing brother-sister duo was rescued by a group of four Good Samaritans, who rushed the senior citizens to Shatabdi Hospital after spotting them in a miserable condition outside Borivli station on January 5.
Jitendra and Nalini Shah
Virar residents Nalini (63) and Jitendra Shah (67) had been living on the streets after their apartment got flooded following the downpour in July 2015. Jitendra was rendered jobless after the private company he worked for as tour operator shut down five years ago, while Nalini had developed psychological issues following their mother’s demise.
The Shah residence in Virar near Viva college
Speaking to mid-day, Shonaa Gonsalves, one of the four rescuers, said, “I saw that a woman had fallen face-first and blood was oozing from her mouth. There was a man standing beside the woman, looking at her helplessly. Though their clothes were shabby, they didn’t look like beggars. Three other women joined in to help me pick up the elderly lady. Later, all four of us decided to call the police and get them hospitalised.”
The quartet then called the police helpline. However, it was only after Gonsalves mentioned that she is a social worker and wants to help two senior citizens get hospitalised, that constables from Borivli police station reached the spot. The other three women were identified as Radha Singh, a lawyer, Lynett Lewis and Pooja Bhanushali, both employees at private firms.
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“We shifted them to Shatabdi, where a doctor yelled at us from bringing in beggars. We told him that even a wounded animal is ought to get help, and there were human beings. Even at the hospital we had to play the social activist card to get them admitted,” said Singh.
While all four women are contributing to foot the medical expenses of the Shah siblings and are visiting them every alternate day, the biggest hurdle before them is to find the duo a permanent shelter to keep them off the streets.
“Nalini is well-educated, speaks English and apparently was a teacher. Jitendra was working at a private firm. We are struggling to find an old age home where they both can stay together, as Jitendra isn’t ready to leave Nalini in a women-only shelter,” said Singh.
While the women are struggling to find the duo a permanent shelter, the Shah siblings are scared to leave the hospital. “I am old and have no money for my sister’s treatment. Our relatives visited us just once, on the day we were admitted. There is nobody to look after us. At least here Nalini is getting medical attention. Please don’t make us go back to the streets, we have spent seven months there,” said Jitendra.
Talking to mid-day, Dr K Pimpale, medical superintendent, Shatabdi Hospital, said, “Tests have shown that the woman is suffering from anaemia. While there are several other tests that are yet to be performed, she has shown no symptoms of blood cancer as claimed by her.”
When this reporter visited the Shah residence in Virar, their neighbours said they maintained a distance from the duo due to their erratic behaviour. “They have been living here for over a decade. But after their mother passed away, Nalini went into depression. She would scream and abuse other residents. Since the society is slated to undergo redevelopment, we requested them to complete the documentation and clear maintenance dues that are piling up. But they have no money. After the area was flooded in July and power supply to their house was cut due to non-payment of bills, they both disappeared,” said Rakesh Malhotra, society chairperson.