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Family Apprehension, Pension & Gumption

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Thyagarajan, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:
    FAMILY APPREHENSION, PENSION & GUMPTION :hello:

    It was murky Monday morning in late June in erstwhile Bombay ; and since late night there has been respite from lashing monsoon rains. Heard a gentle knock at the door that was ajar. I was out from shower in towel -wrapped around my waist .

    Mind replete with piled up arbitration case files on my office table.

    My UKG daughter -in school uniform - strode to the door, opened it wide exclaimed in delight “welcome- welcome”. I was behind her; and she was in glee of looking at a smiling baby in arms of a young woman and a puny toddler girl glueing to her mom’s phallu.

    She seem to be set off in fear and in trepidation.


    Behind them, I saw stocky staff-union-president, a bald man Mr P, tipping his head slightly tapping it with his right fingers.


    “Morning Sir”. He was holding a red plastic transparent folder. I let them in and pointing to sofa. The young mother with a bare neck in cotton white saree clad in Malabar style, hesitantly uttered a shrill “namasthe sir”.

    My spouse just peeked out near kitchen threshold, wiping her palms in a chequered napkin, told in Hindi to lady to be seated. A smiling Mr. P, began making a bald statement:

    “Sir, this lady is spouse of Menon (M)- senior storekeeper at our transit depot at Ghatkopar. Here is a photograph showing store keeper & this lady together. You know sir, M proceeded long ago on sanctioned short leave to native place and after expiry of it, never returned”.

    “You are the Enquiry Officer and in the last ten months of M’s absconding, you had sent several notices in his name to his native address and written to police commissioner too at his native place to search for him and report status; besides you had arranged notices get published in dailies Malayalam Manorama & the Indian Express. Your search for him followed by several reminders did not elicit any response from Kerala Police Commissioner”.

    “This lady is M’s widow.She has brought death certificate (DC) in original of her late husband and a photo for purpose of claiming pension. She wants ‘attestation & certification’ in xerox of DC which would help her to proceed to claim and draw family pension”.

    “She has come all the way from Kannur City in Kerala and says that her wherewithal would not permit to stay in Bombay for a day more & so she would leave for native place bye evening. She seeks immediate help from you sir”.

    At that juncture, my spouse wincing, gestured for my remaining wet, half-clad in bath towel. The wall clock chimed once indicating time half past eight. OMG- I was getting late. I excused from drawing-hall to dress up and return.

    Quickly returned in office-ready attire. I saw spouse offering visitors tea from a tray and in a separate plate unpacked biscuits: offered it to toddler.

    The matter seemed to be dealt with sense of urgency and sympathy, I decided to look into the matter en-route office. I kissed my daughter & bade good bye to them and with Echolacbrief left in hurry with visitors to office. Faintly heard daughter saying ‘good day daddy’.

    The lady with her infant sat in front and toddler girl sat between P & me at rear in an yellow cab. As the cab began speeding up, I took from P - the plastic folder and glanced the DCin original.

    I had ignored the printed matter and closely looked only at the typed matter that filled the blank dotted spaces in-between printed sentences. Name was ok. Date of issue and date of death were freshly typed and looked bold & slightly odd.

    How I wished to console the young widow in her mother tongue offering condolence and few words of empathy! I could utter only equivalent in a mixed Tamil & English which P had translated In Malayalam.

    Tear-drops jerked from her eyes as P translated my words into her language.

    I was visualising how to get “her-pension work” prioritised & speeded up. But then, I remembered an obliterated thin hazy rectangle around dates of death and issue of that Original DC. Scepticism crept in.

    I was cursing my vision and suspicion !

    Upon reaching the office, I told the lady to wait in the visitors’ area in the hall with P. I entered office into spacious chamber, noted down on pocket-size spiral-pad, serial number of DC & the name of office of issue particulars.

    My girl-Friday sneak peeked greeting me. Returning her greetings, I instructed to check the original and get a copy ready of that DC on which I would need to certify to enable the young lady submit along with application for processing her “family pension”.

    I exited the chamber: told P that I would be back in a jiffy. I went upstairs got the locked conference room opened, where phone with direct STD call facility installed (It was pre-mobile era). I dialled the office of DC at Kannur City in Kerala and upon connection, a lady responded confirming that she was in charge of the office.

    I told am asked to verify by police commissioner - Bombay, about a DC Issued by her office and would like to know the name of the dead person reflected in that certificate bearing serial number XXXX issued on ddmmyy. (It was pre computer era). For a while, I heard the flip-flap of pages turning near the distant land phone and soon heard voice from other end.

    After getting re-confirmation of the serial number and date of issue of DC from me, thatlady in a clear and soft tone in heavily Malayalam accented English said,


    “Sir, the serial no. you had told relates to one
    Mr. Farook Ahmed aged 86 died on......”

    I stood flabbergasted.

     
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  2. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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  3. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Thyagarajan,
    This is a nail biting story and your suspicion was well founded.You find hundreds of appeals for financial help for temples,hospitalisation etc but fifty percent of them are fake. I have had my own share of such appeals and inspite of my attention to details I have lost money.
    Regards
    SLN
     
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  4. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Vivid narration as usual, Thyagu. You left the ending like TV serial keeps people hooked for next episode. So, did you turn the lady over to the police? And, did Menon (M) ever come back to the transit depot?
     
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  5. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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    I think this could be a serial story.

    I felt sorry for the Mrs. who is forced to buy that darn DC to feed her family from whatever meagre thing that her husband's pension would have provided. Some countries require the missing person be missing for 7 years before s/he can be legally pronounced dead by a court. Long and messy process, not designed for poor people living on the edge.
     
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  6. Amica

    Amica IL Hall of Fame

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    What an interesting mystery! Was she the scammer? Or was Menon the scammer and she merely the front man? Was she even his wife?

    When will Thyagu give us closure? :)
    .
     
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  7. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    A good story. There are smart people and equally smart people to help them fake papers.
    As far as I know there is some provision about granting pension to spouse of a missing person, not before some years may be 5 or more. I know one such case.
     
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  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Thanks for your appreciation and comments. we might have lost in helping cheats but whtever or wherever we do good would return to us manifold in some other form.
    Regards.
     
  9. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: Am Glad to read your comments. Thanks for appreciation.
    2. Coming to answer your curiosity, I must say this.
    When confronted with my discovery that the DC was bogus, she said that her husband’s first wife’s parents kidnapped and later given to understand that they eliminated him and she just managed with an agent to get the DC. I had to take it kindly and told her to go back to her native place. The union man too felt very embarrassed in my presence but spoke kindly to her and offered some cash helping her to return to her native place.
    3. After few months of this incident, the senior store keeper did come back and disciplinary action was taken against him. With the strong backing of a medical certificate and political pressure, he managed to protect his service: though I came to know later from other sources that he had two living wives, nothing came to record about his second wife and children. He seemed to have no issues through his ( official) wife.
    God - is it true marriages are fixed in heaven?
     
  10. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Thanks. If person considered dead reappears with passage of time the type of chaos that he or she and Keith’s and kin would be would be difficult to imagine. Might be Mind-boggling from point of Law.
    Regards.
     

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