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In grave, happily ever after

In the month of mushy cards, here's a story that is sure to make Saint Valentine smile, reports Ashok Das.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 12:13 IST
Ashok Das
Ashok Das
None

In the month of mushy cards and moony teenyboppers, here's a story that is sure to make Saint Valentine smile.

Saik Lal Hussain and his wife Mehboob Bee have been married for over 50 years. They have now used up all their savings to build a grave with two chambers - side by side - so that they are not separated after death. If this isn't love, what is?

The septuagenarian couple (Hussian is 76 and Mehboob Bee is 71) runs a tea stall in Panditapuram village in Andhra Pradesh's Khammam district.

It's sheer joy watching the couple at work — while the husband buys the groceries and keeps the accounts, the wife does the cleaning and cooking.

The couple insists on doing everything themselves and haven't hired any help. An average day's earning is anything between Rs 100 and Rs 150 and it takes care of their needs.

"We don't have children and have to take care of ourselves. We adopted a relative but he died many years ago," said Hussain.

So the couple decided to build a grave, complete with brick and mortar walls and a concrete roof over it to protect them from the elements. It took them over Rs 1 lakh to build the grave. Every morning, the couple cleans the structure as they it were a shrine and tend to the potted plants around the grave.

"We are old and there is no one to look after us. We may die any time. Who will take care of our bodies? So we have built our own grave, so that the community members only have to place our bodies and shove in some mud," said Hussain.

The couple migrated to the village about 40 years ago from the drought-prone Kadapa district. "I have never sought government help, not even pension. We will take care of ourselves as long as we can rather than wait for government dole," he said.

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 03:16 IST