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Excessive Attachment To Own House

Discussion in 'Interesting Shares' started by Thyagarajan, Jun 4, 2023.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Long one. Need patience to read fully. In the context of murder of an 82 year old lady in Mahalakshmipura, Bengaluru, a couple of days back.
    Forwarded message
    Dear Friends,
    Thank you for the outpour of love and support, post my mother's demise. By now, all of you know how she passed away. This entire episode has a lot of lessons for seniors, elders and their family members. It has a lot of lessons for us too. After all, we will all be seniors in 6/7 years.
    We are 3 siblings in the family - me and my 2 elder sisters. All are based in Bangalore in different localities, while parents lived in their ML home constructed in 1974. As you can imagine of their generation, they worked hard, saved hard, and went through a lot of struggles, to make an asset for themselves. That is one of the reasons, my parents (like a million others) were very attached to their home.
    Since 2008 (15 yrs back), I have been trying to get my parents to move to the same apartments in Whitefield where I live. But this could not happen as my parents were very adamant that they should live independently and die in their own home. In fact, they live in a very good area, with excellent neighbours, and innumerable conveniences. This is what built a strong case for them to not leave this home.
    My father who passed away in Oct 2022 at the ripe old age of 92 had only one last wish that he should die in his home - which happened! My mother had exactly the same wish. However, me and my sisters were often worried sick about her safety, post my father's demise. All requests to move her to one of the 3 children's apartments (basically to have a flat of her own here, so that she can be independent and yet close to one of the children) did not appeal to her initially.
    But finally, she agreed to move to an apartment in their present area by June 2024. As per her, it would take her that much time to overcome the attachment to this house and the pain of leaving it, after living here for 50 yrs. Till that time, we children wanted to get a steel gate erected outside the front door, for her safety. But she vetoed the idea, citing a public CCTV outside our home, and helpful neighbours. We also suggested a video doorbell but she laughed the idea away. We finally got her to agree that once she moves into an apartment in June 2024, there would be a resident caretaker. She was half-hearted about the idea, but we insisted.
    We 3 children would visit her once or twice a week without fail. Same with her siblings, relatives, friends, family friends and neighbours who were fond of her and would come often. Not to mention – innumerable vendors, agencies, 3rd parties and service providers (such as attendants for my parents in the past, electrician, plumber, coconut-picker, medicine supplier, caterer, maid, flower vendor, vegetable vendor, etc etc). This certainly increased her risk of exposure to criminal elements.
    On Saturday, 27th evening, 2 miscreants entered the home, gagged her, tied her hands and then strangled her. Apparently, my mother knew these guys. That is because she has given them drinking water (2 glasses on the dining table) and was even preparing tea for them in the kitchen. Before doing these, they have managed to her unawares, gag and strangle her, snatch the 2 chains in her neck and a pair of gold bangles, pushed her face down on the ground in one of the bedrooms, and after ensuring she is dead, closed the bedroom door and scooted quickly. Apparently, they could not find anything else valuable in quick glance, or they wanted to be safe.

    As luck would have it, there is a CCTV installed by the Govt just outside her house and several others in the vicinity. The footage shows these guys walking into the home and also away from the home wearing masks and caps.
    Neighbours who would drop in to see her suspected something and they collectively wanted to enter the house. At the same time, a lady inspector attached to the ML police station was walking near the house. She enquired what the discussion was about, walked in, opened the bedroom door, saw my mother’s body, immediately cordoned off the area, and called the police station. Neighbours immediately called us 3 children and we rushed as soon as possible. By the time we all reached, the place was swarming with cops. Forensics and inquest followed till late night, the home was sealed for the night and released only next morning. Media, who had already gotten wind of this incident, had come in vans and parked outside our house. Post mortem was completed the next morning.

    My mother’s death has taught us a lot of lessons which we would like to share with people (both elders and their children) who are in a similar setup today.
    It's common to find innumerable parents with the attitude “we don’t need our children to manage our lives, we are perfectly capable of managing it ourselves. We are 2/3/4 decades older than our children and have seen a lot of the world, we know better”. The problem with this approach is, the world that we live in today is evolving at a dizzy pace. Our parents’ generation have not been exposed to so much of what we are exposed to. If children show genuine concern and take time off to provide valuable tips or suggestions, parents should be open to examining them. After all, every generation has something to learn from another generation. Extreme emphasis on independence can expose seniors/elders to bias, or ignorance, and hurt their life in one or more ways.

    The mushrooming of apartments in tier-1 cities like Bangalore, is a good thing for seniors and home-alone elders. Apts in gated communities are safer. Plus, apps like MyGate monitor movement of outsiders and family, capture their mobile numbers etc. This is the first thing that elders/seniors should do once they are in their mid-60s. That will give them ample time to adjust to a new neighbourhood where they will stay for the rest of their life. Making such a move in the 80s and 90s is harder. Other options include Assisted Living centers and upmarket old-age homes.
    My parents had excellent neighbours all around. Neighbours and elder-friends would call or meet them often. This made them overconfident about the support system, and increased their attachment to the house. In reality, neighbours and elder-friends who are hassled often only complain behind the back “why don’t they go and live with their children”?

    It's easy for smart and canny outsiders to earn the trust of elders by calling them appa, amma, ajji, thaatha, uncle, aunty etc. They even recount sad aspects about their life (most of which can be fake) to earn their sympathy. My parents were also vulnerable in this matter. Many times, when we children land up at their house, we would be horrified to see all kinds of people walking in and out of home. This would lead to heated discussions in the family. But my parents would dismiss it saying “you people are overreacting”.

    CCTV, Video Doorbell, Steel mesh-gate, Security apps are all useful precautions and must be implemented. But these come up with their own limitations. They can and never must become a substitute for common-sense. The miscreants involved in our case, would have surely noticed the public CCTV outside my parents’ home. Yet they dared to do this act. Apparently, they too have seen how some elders can be egoistic, impractical, over-confident, and haughty about their capabilities.
    Criminals are always smarter, more organized and cautious too. The CCTV footage in this case shows them approaching, and leaving the home in cap and mask. Yet they were known to my mother. That explains the water glasses and tea boiling on the stove. Surely, they would have removed the cap and masks at home, so as to not arouse suspicion. Most of the napkins, towels and sarees used to gag and strangle my mother were at home, and not from outside, so as to minimize evidence.
    Crappy TV serials and crappy movies show children as scheming, plotting and conniving people, while outsiders are sweet, caring, supporting, empathetic etc. In reality, it’s the other way round. Nobody can care for somebody like their parents do. In the same way, nobody can care for somebody like their children do. Yet, in today’s world, it’s common to find elders being aloof from children and intimate with outsiders.
    This can be dangerous. It poses great safety risk. Elders should confide every single change in their lives to their children and be suspicious of outsiders who are getting too close for comfort, or being unusually concerned. Elders should be as discrete with, and as suspicious of – outsiders, as possible. It's easy for outsiders to gain trust and collect information about the family. My parents would discuss everything under the sun, with all and sundry, in-spite of we cautioning them against it.
    There was a time when Indians regarded children as the real wealth. But somewhere along the line, an entire generation of urban-educated, affluent middle-class started dismissing this idea as nonsense. Maybe it's time to revisit the same?

    Elders/seniors should use fewer vendors and agencies, and also not change them often. Door delivery from online agencies and couriers should be across a meshed steel-gate for conversations. Parcels and packages should be left outside the door and elders must collect them long after the deliverer has left. Also, it’s not good to change vendors again and again.

    When the miscreants were running from my parents’ house, the masks on one of their faces slipped, so a full view of one of the faces was captured in the public CCTV. Unfortunately, none of us siblings could recognize the guy. If your parents are engaging with some agencies and vendors on a regular basis, the company details and the representative’s photos, mobile-number, and address must be collected. This can help, in case of any untoward incident like this. This effort should be initiated by the children, as not all elders may be tech-savvy, or take the trouble of doing this. They may dismiss such measures as 'fear-mongering'.
    “My house”, “our house”, “my husband’s house”, “our home our temple” are all useless sentiments. My mother would have realized this lesson the hard way while being strangled to death. In a life, or world where nothing is permanent, excessive attachment to any asset, no matter how old it is, doesn’t make sense. Every aspect of life should be seen in totality, in perspective. Practical, real-life intelligence is the greatest asset an elder can have. For that matter, anybody can have….

    Before concluding, I request you to forward this message to as many people and groups as possible. We don’t want anybody to go through what our family is going through. The police were quite candid, that nothing much may come of this case. The criminals may get bail again and again. In fact, it may take 2 years, for even the first summons from court. In such a scenario, prevention is better than cure.
    An aggrieved family.
    V.important message ...plz do share...

  2. gamma50g

    gamma50g Finest Post Winner

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    So sad to read that the seniors wish of dying in her own home got fulfilled albeit in an unfavorable fashion.

    I completely agree with all the statements made anove. Till both parents are alive, they are company and companions for each other.

    However, after one parent passes away, the other parent's best place to live is with their daughter.

    This is a ladies forum and I say daughter - because even a son cannot take care of the remaining parent as well as a daughter can (most cases, there may be exceptions). Be it preparing food to their parent's liking or just talking to them and giving them emotional support, noone can do it better than daughters. Hence, daughters are so special.

    No amount of calls or giving parents money can ever substitute your being there for them.

    At a certain stage, you have to take charge of your parent's life and make certain decisions for their well-being and safety even if they may not agree with it. After all, you would rather have a cross parent than no parent at all.

    This works great in cases where atleast one child wants to take good care of their parent.

    And then there's the other end of the spectrum. Sadly, so many senior citizens who sent their children abroad in the 90s are now stuck alone either in their own homes or in old age homes. Their spouse has passed on, their kids are too busy to visit and they may have not even seen their grandchildren. Sometimes when I see such people, I am aghast to see how they used to be vs how they are now. Gone is the strong headed opinionated man and in his place stands a meek, feeble human whose only wish is to be with his family. What use is it to send the very children they gave birth to (so that they can support them in their old age) abroad , and then spent all the time boasting about how busy their kids are abroad (when they were in great health and had a spouse to lean on) only to find out in the sunset of their life that their son or daughter is not coming back for them.

    In my opinion, there is no hell worse than this and this is the worst kind of suffering for any parent to undergo at their old age after spouse passes away.
  3. SuiDhaaga

    SuiDhaaga IL Hall of Fame

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    elderly are prey

    I wish three is a way at least one child can live next door

    but this is naive sentiment
    svpriya, Thyagarajan and joylokhi like this.
  4. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Yes, got this as a forward from one of my whatsapp groups too. Made very sad reading! All what the daughter in the above says is a hundred percent true. However, when it comes to practical situations, i have come across many senior ladies in my layout itself who are managing themselves comfortably , after their spouses have passed away, and some of them are around 75-80. They still prefer to live in their familiar surroundings and carry on life interacting with all in the neighbourhood, visting their children frequently on special occasions etc. The question of security is very much there, but they are much happier in their day to day life, than they would be living with families, who are naturally hard pressed for time themselves to manage their kids and families. They have absolutely nothing against their kids and all are caring enough to attend to whatever is required at a message/ call away.
    I am personally of the opinion too that this is how i would live too, if such a situation arises. However, would choose a place close enough to be available at a call away. HoweVER, I believe in the saying, Man Proposes, God disposes - so will leave it at that!
    beautifullife30 and Thyagarajan like this.
  5. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Seemingly loyal drivers or chauffeurs or cooks and even security agents after gaining intimate knowledge of the place after few years lured by external gang turn appendage and share in the booty. There are many such cases involving pretense of plumber or electrician too gain entry into the independent bungalows built in outskirts of city and indulge in stealing ROBBING and if necessary killing persons mostly septa or octo generians. A neighbor sold her bungalow and as insisted by her NRI son and DIL shifted to Neelankarai, Chennai where the couple built palatial mansion. She had a labrador and two pomeranian for company and stayed alone and was expecting her son & dil would soon return for good to Chennai a few months later. The driver and cook seemingly loyal were found eventually the killers of the grand-old-lady for valuables. Why God has punished this peace loving family. Is it because of greed of others?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2023

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