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.