NRI Returns, Finds Mother’s Skeleton at Mumbai Home

The terrible reality of an being left behind as an old-person in India.


When Rituraj Swaraj, an IT professional headed home from the US, he had no clue what he was about to find. At his residence in Mumbai he found his mother’s skeletal remains in the bedroom. He hadn’t been in touch with his aged mother for over a year.

Swaraj reached his Mother’s Oshiwara flat on Sunday morning and no one answered the bell despite several attempts. He finally entered the house with the help of a duplicate key and as he entered the room he found is 63-year-old mother’s skeletal remains, fully clothed.

Police believes that she passed away at least a few weeks ago, given the complete decomposition of the body but only an autopsy can disclose the exact time of her death. No marks or wounds were found on her body reported Indian Express.

Asha K Sahani had been staying alone at her 10th floor residence in Wells Cot society in Andheri’s Lokhandwala area since her husband died in 2013. Their son Rituraj, an engineer, had moved to the US in 1997. The last conversation between the mother and son took place in April 2016. At that point, Sahani had told him that she felt lonely. She had also asked him to get her into an old-age home.

The newspaper reported Subhash Khanvilkar, senior inspector, Oshiwara police station as saying.  The inspector also said that both the flats on the 10th floor belong to the Sahanis, which is why neighbors did not sense any foul smell.

There have been previous cases of unnoticed deaths and dead being recovered from their ‘abandoned’ homes in India. Being elderly, the absence of these people goes unnoticed for a long time.

According to a survey titled ‘Changing Needs & Rights of Older People in India’ that spoke to more than 15000 elderly in Delhi-NCR region, more than 50% felt mistreated, lonely and were in need of counselling. The survey mentioned that the elderly in urban areas are more prone to mistreatment compared to rural areas.

India is being home to about 100 million elderly, and has been reported as one of the worst countries to grow old in. A first-of-its-kind Global AgeWatch Index that assessed countries based on social and economic well-being of its elderly has ranked India 73rd out of 91 countries way below China (35), Sri Lanka (36) and Brazil (31).

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