Lost in the crowd of KEM hospital staff was Siddhesh Nayak, grandnephew of Aruna Shanbaug , who was seeing his grandaunt for the first time on Monday. He was not the only one, there were many from the family who came to the hospital on getting the news.
“I am seeing her for the first time, but she was not a lost relative. We tried our best to care for her,” said Nayak, a resident of Andheri, who was upset with the way the media and hospital administration portrayed a “demonic image” of the family.The Nayaks claimed it was easy to meet Shanbaug initially, as the nurses who attended to her knew the family well. "Later, new staff members joined the hospital. So every time a family member came to visit, the nurses asked them to get a permission from the dean, which reduced the number of visits. We [Shanbaug’s sisters] got married and it became difficult to come to the hospital regularly," said Chhaya Nayak, daughter of Shanta Nayak, Aruna’s elder sister.
Shanta’s children, Mangal and Vinayak, had visited Aruna a few months ago, when they learnt she was unwell. The nurses asked them to get the dean’s permission, but they were unable to get one, they claimed. “We understand her security was increased, as there were attempts to kill her in the past. The hospital nurses took very good care of her, which couldn’t have been done at home,” said Mangal.
Shanbaug had nine siblings and lost her parents at a young age, said her school friend, Umesh Parab. “She was beautiful and we called her ‘Baai’ in school. She was to marry a doctor from the hospital, but the incident changed to it all,” said Parab.
Watch: Nurses bid emotional goodbye to Aruna Shanbaug after 42-year-long ordeal