For 42 years, Kalkaji couple lived alone, neglected | delhi | Hindustan Times
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For 42 years, Kalkaji couple lived alone, neglected

delhi Updated: Oct 12, 2016 13:34 IST
The house of Govind Ram Jethani in Kalkaji where he lived with the body of his wife for four days.
The house of Govind Ram Jethani in Kalkaji where he lived with the body of his wife for four days.(Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

For 42 years, Govind Jethani, 90, and his wife Gopi, 85, lived in the J-block one-room house but nobody remembers their name. Nobody remembers where they come from or why they had no relatives or friends visiting them.

House number J 1/110 – home to the Jethani’s – is the only dilapidated house among other multi-storey buildings in the area. Neighbours said they do not remember the last time when the walls of the Jethani’s house were painted.

Jethani’s neighbour, Sujan Majumder, 36, said he has been living next door to Jethani for eight years but hardly interacted with the elderly couple. “Uncle spoke to me only when he had a problem with my car parked outside his house.”

Other neighbours remember Jethani wearing the same set of clothes every day.

Gopi and Govind Jethani with a relative. Neighbours said the old couple rarely had any visitors.

Vimlesh Kumar, who sells vegetables outside their house, said the couple did not switch on lights. “They had an electricity connection but rarely used it. I would see lights on only for sometime in the evening. Maybe they switched it on while having dinner.”

Kumar said he was the only friend the couple had in the area because he often gave money and milk to them. “I wondered how they were surviving in summers without a fan. Occasionally, uncle stepped out and sat on a chair in the front yard of his house. But aunty never came out. She would stand at the door and watch passerby,” Kumar said.

A woman said when she had last seen Gopi Jethani, the woman had lost her hair. She said that Gopi looked weak and lost.

Police officers who entered the house on Monday said the couple appeared to be living in penury. About four months ago, neighbourhood grocery shop owner Pradeep Popli had gone to Jethani’s house on learning that Govind had fallen unconscious. “There was a bed and a carpet. There were no plates or even glasses. When I ordered tea for uncle, there was no cup in the house. I had to get a cup from my house,” Popli said.

Before 1974, when the Jethanis shifted to Kalkaji, they lived with their family in Sarojini Nagar. Govind, then 48, owned shops in the market but a dispute with one of his brothers costed him the property. Govind’s younger brother Roop Chand, 75, told HT, “We were three brothers. Govind and I had a dispute with our brother. In the dispute, we both lost everything. Govind became different after that.”

Govind used the remaining money to buy the house in Kalkalji. “He stopped trusting anyone after that. I used to visit him occasionally. My brother was solely dependent on his old-age pension,” Chand said.