He left the country when she was asleep.
Though he did not have the time to tell his mother that he was leaving for good, he did have time to lock all the rooms in the flat except one — the living room, where she lay asleep.
Parvati Parab fought a battle in family court for two years to win a monthly compensation of Rs 4,000 from her son and a ‘right’ to live in the flat that she claims was bought with her husband’s retirement benefits.
But she admits she has lost the battle of life. At 75 and suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, a host of eye problems and osteoporosis, she is not physically capable of making the rounds of court.
But she has to, since she does not receive the maintenance regularly. She lives with her daughter, but laments not being able to live in what she describes as ‘my home’.
"May be there was a problem in my upbringing," she laments.
The daughters sound burdened with the responsibility of looking after their mother. “I have been doing it for 20 years now. I am tired and financially hard-pressed. How long can we do it? Our husbands also vent their disapproval,” said Arti Khapne, Parvati’s daughter.
Both the daughters affirm that they are not interested in the property. “It is already in my brother’s name and the litigation does not cover it at all. We want him to take the responsibility of his mother,” said Pushpa Bhandari, a schoolteacher who lives in Dadar.
The son and his lawyer could not be contacted by HT.
Parvati claims that her husband Shankar, an AAI employee and a carpenter by profession, handed over his retirement benefit to her son to buy a house. “When he bought it in his name, we thought we will all live together,” she said.
When his son left for the US, the security personnel in the society conveyed the news to her. “I panicked so I called my daughter,” she said.
Before approaching the court, she approached Maharashtra Women’s Commission. “We advised her to file a complaint with the police or file a case for maintenance,” said Vaishali Thakur, the commission’s counselor who handled her case in 2004.
According to lawyers, Hindu parents are better protected by law under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956. “Muslims, Christians, Jews and Parsis are covered under Section 125 of CrPC but they have to approach the High Court. They can also go for a succession case which very complicated and lengthy,” said leading Family Court lawyer Nilofer Akhtar.
Responding to her petition, the court has ordered her son to file a reply and more than anything else, she wants now to ask his son, Dilip, a simple question after he decided to fight the case in the court for all these years — “Did you ever love me?”