Seventy-five-year-old Maniklal Shah bathed his bedridden wife Surbala, 70, on Monday, the way he had done every day for the past two years. He was not surprised when she didn’t speak to him, because she rarely talked.
The police suspect that Maniklal may have stayed with his wife’s body at their Kandivli residence for at least two days without even realising that she had passed away.
“Surbala is suspected to have died a natural death either on Friday or Saturday. However, as she was bedridden and never spoke, Maniklal and the couple’s adopted son Neeraj did not suspect that she had passed away,” said Mahesh Patil, zonal deputy commissioner of police.
The bodies of the senior citizen doctor couple were found at their ground-floor residence at Parkview Housing Society on Tuesday morning.
The police said society members last saw Maniklal, a pediatrician, on Monday afternoon when an official came for the population survey.
He is suspected to have died on Monday night.
Lalita Otia, 56, a resident of the building, said the couple was extremely close and Maniklal would do the cleaning and cooking while also running his dispensary at their residence.
“In July, a woman in our neighbourhood had passed away and a month later her husband died too. At the time, Kaka [Maniklal] had said that he wished the same for himself and his wife as they could not live apart,” said Otia.
Neighbours said Maniklal always exchanged pleasantries with them.
“I met him on Monday. When I asked him about his health, he said he was feeling well,” said Otia.
Residents said the couple had an extended family, but mostly lived alone. They had been staying in the society since it was built around four decades ago. They lived with their adopted son Neeraj, 23, who is mentally challenged.
They had adopted him when he was two years old, the police said.
Neeraj works as a delivery boy at Siddhi dry fruit store, opposite his residence.
“He has been working at the store for three years. He has always taken good care of his parents,” said shopowner, Rahul Gala.