Every evening, 73-year-old Bina Dey makes a cup of tea for her son and lights a diya in front of his framed photo in their single-bedroom apartment in Vraj Villa at Amrutnagar in Ghatkopar (W). As the tea goes cold, the light from the lamp diminishes, until it goes out completely. Bina and her daughter Lina (56) have not digressed from the dual ritual for a single day in the past two years. Tea was, after all, J Dey’s drink of choice.
“We can only light a candle and make tea for him. We are poor; we cannot get justice for him. Those involved in his killing are rich and free today,” Bina says. “My Dey would always start his day with tea and read almost all the newspapers. We continue the same practice. We offer him tea and do the reading. We read four English papers including MiD DAY, cover-to-cover, hoping to read some article on Dey or his assailants but in vain. Papers have stopped writing about my son. So we go back to the old papers and read about him,” the mother says, adding, “whenever we miss him badly.”
Since the incident, the two women have retreated into a self-imposed shell, insulated not just from the world but even themselves. They have neglected their health, and abandoned their life to take whatever course it will. The mother-daughter duo seldom steps out, not even to buy essential like grocery. They cook sporadically, preferring to get by mostly on tea. “I would cook lunch for him but now that he is not there, whom do we cook for? At the beginning of every month, he would get groceries; his favourite basmati rice, vegetables and fruits. Today, we seldom get the grocery.”
Dey, as a practice, would fold his hands and thank her for feeding him. “We cannot stop thinking of those moments.” The monsoon is here and the roof of their house leaks. But they have no inclination to get it fixed. “We have no interest in anything. We keep to ourselves. We have no visitors coming to us; no one is bothered. We will continue to miss Dey till we live,” she said.
The most conspicuous among all their turmoil is the sense of injustice they feel: Dey’s culprits are still at large. “They went on a pilgrimage after killing my child. We thought justice would prevail and God would punish those who were involved. But after seeing some of the accused being released, even that hope is fading. My son has been deprived of justice,” she couldn’t stop her tears. She continues, “My son did no harm to anybody. He was eating lunch that afternoon when he received a phone call. He hurriedly stepped out, promising to return in 15 minutes. I was at the window, waiting for him to return, but he never came back.”
Bina has a high fever for the last six days due to an infection in her leg. Asked if she had been to a doctor, she says, “I am fed up of taking medicines and do not want to have any more tablets. The only treatment for my ailing leg is that I should rest, but that was only possible when Dey was alive.” “Even today Lina screams after seeing Dey in her dreams and peeps outside the window, hoping to spot Dey returning home on his motorcycle,” she says. It is all that they can do to ensure that the electricity and phone bills are paid on time, enlisting help of well-wishers.