Son scoring goals in SA, they scour city for flat

As shanty boy Yuvraj Walmiki wields hockey stick in Champions Challenge, parents line up flats for him to see during his brief post-tour stopover in city

As hockey hero Yuvraj Walmiki is away on national duty for the Champions Challenge in South Africa, his mother is on a house-hunting spree in and around the city.

She has zeroed in on three flats that she would like her son to take a look at when he comes back to the city for a short break before proceeding to Pune for a match.

Yuvraj Walmiki; his parents, seen here at their 256 sq ft shanty in Marine Lines yesterday, say they have looked at a Rs 1 crore flat in Colaba and two flats for Rs 80 lakh and Rs 50 lakh in Mira Road

While one of the properties is in Colaba and costs Rs 1 crore, two are in Mira Road and cost Rs 80 lakh and Rs 50 lakh.

Walmiki's family at present lives in a 256 sq ft shanty inside Neelkanth Niranjan CHS compound, opposite Marine Lines station, hidden behind the expensive cars parked on the premises; the Walmikis have been living like this for over four decades.

The dwelling does not even have a main door, a curtain hanging at the entrance dividing it from the outside world.

"We do not get water to drink and use neighbouring office buildings to answer the call of nature and to take a bath," Meena Walmiki (40) said. "We have gone through a lot of suffering and even Yuvraj is seriously thinking about owning a flat."

Sunil, Walmiki's father, has already seen two flats in Mira Road, according to Meena.

She says both flats are very spacious and are in newly constructed buildings, and one of them is even close to the railway station.

Though the flats are cheaper than the Colaba one, the family is also concerned about the distance Walmiki's elder brother Rakesh, who works as a peon, will have to travel if it shifts to Mira Road.

Another brother, Devendra, who is also a hockey player and wields the stick for Air India, will also have to spend much time travelling for his routine practice from Mira Road.

As a result, Meena is very keen on the Colaba market flat, which she has already visited.

"The said flat is a resale apartment having an area of approximate 450 sq ft, but the place is very good and close to the market," she said. "The flat owners have quoted a price of Rs 1 crore."

Meena added that Walmiki was very busy since he last won the medal for India and had not had the time to see any of the flats.

"At present, he is playing in South Africa and will return on December 5 and will again leave for Pune on December 12," she said.
"We are short-listing the places, so that once Yuvraj is back we can take him to inspect the flats and take a decision accordingly."

The biggest worry for Meena is the prices of the flats, which the family can not afford.

"Yuvraj got about Rs 22 lakh by way of prize money from the state government and various institutes and political parties; we have no other funds.
Once Yuvraj returns, we will also work out the where to source the funds from," she said.

Look, our son on TV
THE parents of Yuvraj Walmiki watched him play on TV for the first time as he hit two goals in South Africa on November 29, against Poland.
India won the match 7-0 to ensure the top spot in Group A of the Champions Challenge. Walmiki's folks could watch the match because a good Samaritan recently donated a colour television set to the family.
The day of the match was also Walmiki's birthday and the family cut a cake for him.

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