A 96-year-old woman cooks, sleeps, washes clothes and does other daily chores in a three-foot-wide open passage outside the house of one of her sons in the City.
But, Akkamma is not actually a homeless person. She is the mother of six children, all financially sound. But, she has been left unattended to outside the house of one of her sons in Indiranagar.
The nonagenarian resided with her one of her younger sons since her husband died 15 years ago. Today, she lives in the passage of a house belonging to another son, who has rented it out to three other families. She was initially given a small room that had no washroom. The ground floor was then renovated and rented out, which left the old woman roofless, one of the neighbours said.
Neighbours explained that she was in for a shock when she realised that her younger son had walked out of the house without even informing that the house was rented out. Another of her sons, who stays on the next lane, hardly visits her, they said.
Akkamma says, “My husband had offered to transfer ownership of the house in my name, but I refused and said it should be in my son’s name. Now, I am repenting.”
She is convinced that her children will never come to take her to their homes. But, she manages to live independently. “She neither accepts food nor water that is offered to her,” one of the residents said. Irrespective of the weather conditions, the woman who is hard of hearing is left outside, the neighbours added. It was only in the initial days of her abandonment that she sought shelter at a neighbour’s parking lot, couched beside the vehicles, they said. Akkamma borrows rice from the nearby provision stores in a coconut shell and cooks it herself in the cooker that she has. “Yesterday night, she was found cooking with sticks that she had collected for fuel,” one of the neighbours explained. While a few said she used the ground nearby for all sanitary purposes, others said she did it in the passage itself.
The woman broke into tears when asked about her children. “I had ornaments which I sold to buy provisions,” she said.
Her son, however, said she always wanted to cook for herself and would not listen to anyone. “The cooker burst twice since the past few weeks and she did not even realise, as she is hard of hearing,” a family acquaintance said. “She is stubborn and does not want to take any medical treatment as she is superstitious. We did invite her to stay with us, but she flatly refused,” explained the son who lives nearby. “We suspect that she is mentally unstable. So, we have taken an appointment at Nimhans,” he asserted.
However, even after repeated attempts, Deccan Herald could not speak to the other sons and the daughter. One of the residents pointed out that she was seen in the place on and off and every time the sons attempted to take her back, she turned furious.
By late night, however, neighbours informed this reporter that one of the sons had taken the woman home.