Riches to rags: The tragic tale of a gold-medallist chemical engineer

Updated: Jan 24, 2017, 14:13 IST
  • Riches to rags: The tragic tale of a gold-medallist chemical engineer
    In December 2016, mid-day reported of how 70-year-old Arun Paurana, a gold medal-winning chemical engineer, was found on the streets of Mumbai, outside Indraprastha Shopping Centre in Borivli. Disowned by family, Arun once had a staff of hundreds, but was living near place where he once owned a home. “I never thought about rainy days. Maybe that’s why I’m here. You can’t not be under a cloud once in a while; I should have known better,” he was quoted as saying after being found on the streets
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  • Riches to rags: The tragic tale of a gold-medallist chemical engineer
    Chemicals were his passion. He started his career at Chem-o-Ocean’s factory in the 1960s in Rajkot. But in 1974, the company lost all raw material in a cyclone and Arun arrived in Mumbai. One of his friends, Chandrakant Mirani, corroborated his story. “Back in the ’70s, I had completed my Msc and was working under him as a chemist at the Rajkot factory. He was the director and lived a lavish life. He had hundreds of people working under him. It’s unfortunate what’s become of him. I can’t believe it’s the same person.”
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  • Riches to rags: The tragic tale of a gold-medallist chemical engineer
    Arun’s wife used to be an advocate, but none of his friends know where she is. His daughter, Aparna, who refused to share her full name, who lives in Santacruz, refused to have anything to do with him, according to his friends. When mid-day called on a number the friends provided, she said, before abruptly disconnecting the call, “Nobody knows his entire story, his history. He didn't tell you the complete truth, I'm sure.”
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  • Riches to rags: The tragic tale of a gold-medallist chemical engineer
    Immediately after the mid-day report, Mumbaikars decided to come together and help Arun. He had fled from an ashram his friends had put him up in, and started living on the streets. People not only offered him food and money, but were also all ready to help him shift to Vapi in Gujarat — the city he eventually wanted to live in
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  • Riches to rags: The tragic tale of a gold-medallist chemical engineer
    There was further good news in store as the 70-year-old was given a one-room-kitchen flat in Kandivli’s Samata Nagar by an anonymous benefactor. His do-gooder — the CEO of a multinational company — also made sure that Arun was given meals regularly. An employee of the company that’s offered him the flat said the CEO wanted to help out as soon as he read the report. “We approached the police on December 15 to locate him. After finding him, we took him to a hospital for a medical examination and to administer first aid. He was later shifted to this flat owned by the CEO.”
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  • Riches to rags: The tragic tale of a gold-medallist chemical engineer
    All the good work by Mumbaikars came to nil though as Arun passed away after being back on the streets. He breathed his last in the early hours of January 18, outside Indraprastha, his old haunt in Borivli, all alone. Even as he had been complaining about difficulty in breathing and his inability to eat to those who would listen, he was found lying dead by police inspector Raju Patil at around 1 am outside his old building and taken to the hospital. Just a month ago, soon after an anonymous CEO bought him a flat, Arun tried to escape for Vapi yet again. “I got a call from him saying he was in Vapi, but none of his friends there came forward to help him and he ended up back on the streets of Mumbai. I will never really understand what he was after,” his friend Mirani summed up Arun’s predicament
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About The Gallery

Gold medal winning chemical engineer, Arun Paurana, who was living on the streets, died there, as Mumbai's attempts to rehabilitate him failed. This is his heartbreaking story

 

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