September 29, 2009

They're gathering

My neighbour is 76 and dying of cancer. The tragedy is that he is wasting away slowly and in increasing indignity as his body shuts down. It's been months that he has lingered in a sad twilight zone. A vital, creative, energetic and widely loved man is reduced to a shell, and I wish he could just go. He doesn't deserve this. Nobody deserves this.

But no, I was mistaken. The real tragedy is elsewhere.

One sister arrived from her home in a Western country, to be with him for a few weeks. She spent that time complaining loudly to every visitor that his will leaves the flat not to her, but to a nephew. (No thought given to the fact that she has lived in that Western country for most of her life, and has no intention of returning to Bombay). "How will he die in peace?", she'd ask the visitors. When she went back, she left with several things from the house that she wanted, unwilling to take the chance that she wouldn't get those either, after his death.

The brother and his wife lose no opportunity to make remarks about my neighbour's wealth (relative to them), insinuating that he should be leaving plenty of it to them.

Another sister wrote to him from her home in Goa saying she'd love to come see him, but he would have to pay for her ticket. He did. When she returned home, she wrote again to say that after he died, she wanted the computer, the Worldspace radio and several other gadgets in the house.

Christians, all. Regular Sunday church-goers, all. The sister in the Western country is even married to a once-priest.

Vultures, all.


Anonymous said...

Any specific reason u mention religion? I think this is common everywhere..


Dilip D'Souza said...

Guru, no specific reason, except for this: I'm just so frustrated and disgusted watching this happen under my nose, and by people who pretend some goodness.

Neha said...

I had come across a similar case few months back...n I mentioned that in one of my posts...there was ths old uncle, suffering from cancer...his son wanted the flat to be transferred on his the uncle had contacted us to make his will...there in front of us as well, his son was abusing him and yelling at him continuously...that uncle died transferring the property on his wife's that old lady is on the receiving side everyday...

there are so many other cases too that I come across...and it feels sad...the dilemma that we lawyers usually have is whether to take up the case of the person who is wrong or defend him as he is your client and it is your duty to defend him...

Surya said...

But they are all Indian (origin) :-)...its in the genes I guess

Kavi said...

I dont think this is a function of religion ( pretense of goodness or otherwise).

I dont think this is a function of nationality either !

This is fast becoming the way of the world.

I have personally seen close relatives go unmourned, because they gifted away wealth to others !

And i have seen their household pets worshiped while these folks were alive.

what we are doing to the environment is almost the same. Think about it. Its dying and shrinking. While the developed and the developing worlds argue about who should do more !

...nobody deserves this !

Rahul Siddharthan said...

I think if they are (or claim to be) practising Christians, it is relevant. What happened to charity, simple living, etc?

Of course Christians are not the only ones guilty of fighting over bequests. Look at the Ambanis. It's not an Indian disease either and it's not correlated to how rich or poor you may be.

But to act like this when the guy is still alive and dying of cancer seems to step up the obnoxiousness of it several notches.

nikhil said...

Greed has become the cornerstone of the existence of the species.. it is a tragedy indeed and is happening everywhere

psycho said...

dilip i agree with most of the comments made. its all over the world, and ppl dnt bother bout things like these till u see it with ur own eyes, there is this foundation call dignity foundation, we had a visit there from our univeristy. u wont believe the level people stoop to for money, from locking old people in their rooms, hitting and abusing them, it was shocking.

dilip can i ask you something? do people, educated people like us, take actions? there are many.. u can call the cops, report them or may be even call foundations that will take action on your behalf

as far as nationality or religion goes.. its a human greed.. hence one of the 7 deadly sins rite!

Mihir said...

Vultures, all. True. But let's separate that from religion.

Actually, let's seperate everything from religion.

Anonymous said...

Dilip....why do you all always write about vultures? There will always be vultures, plenty of them especially in a material city like Bombay.

Howver there are still acts of great personal sacrifice happening everywhere. There are still innumerable people in this vast country who take care of their families setting aside their personal whims and fancies. And these heroes simply vanish from the face of this earth...unsung.
Why don't you highlight at least one such act. Or are you so 'blind' that you're not able to see these.

We should constantly remind ourselves of the Fable of the Three Monkeys.

Anonymous said...

To quote Humphrey Appleby:

"They (public) have a right to be ignorant. Knowledge only means complicity in guilt; ignorance has a certain dignity."

Ugich Konitari said...

You know you talk about material possessions and relatives being upset. I was my parents only child in India , and nursed my father through his last years. When time came for cremation, I decided I (a daughter) would do it myself. Some immediate male cousin got hurt about this, and walked off from the crematorium on noticing my resolve. I was later told about this. But this egotistical action in the face of my loss being borne by me alone, still perplexes me . Whose dignity are they worried about ?

manuel said...

all the people are humans

Saraansh said...

You meantioned they are Christians and then after the first comment made a mention about people pretending goodness. I dont think being Christian or for that matter being religious equates to goodness so not sure what you meant to imply.

Apart from that such behaviour in general is despicable- Christian or otherwise.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thanks for the responses, all. Been overwhelmed with some close and intense reading and now, travelling, which is why I've not responded.

Saaransh, perhaps it's just that I know these people and like I said, I just am frustrated and disgusted with their greed and crassness. Yet they are virtuous about their religious rituals. What does it mean to them, then?

I will admit that since my frustration made me put up this post, I've had second thoughts about mentioning the religion. But I'm not removing the mention.

UK, that's a peculiar cousin you have. Ans: they are not worried about anybody's dignity. They have an inflated ego, is all.

AmOK said...

All this in stark contrast to the Nigerian people who keep wanting to wire me money even though they don't know me or may be distantly related. Luckily I am not in need and so must refuse each offer of kindness. Vultures, vultures, yes, but not "everywhere".

aring said...

...Sad...we ceased to be human in most cases..Are we all reduced to this level??? Real Sad..