Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shyamsunder Chowdhury case- 26/11 victim

We read about Shyamsunder Chowdhury's plight in the following newspapers:

Despite reports about aid coming for the family, India Helps decided
to visit the family and file a first hand report. Sumita and Sayantani
visited the family, and this is what they wrote in:

Dear all

Sayantani and Sumita met Shyam Sundar Chaudhary and his wife Baby
Chaudhary on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.

Shyam Sundar's parents and sister also stay with them. Baby Chaudhary
came across as a confident woman who knew what she wanted and seemed
to be able to handle all the press coverage and incessant phone calls
fairly well. First off, she clarified that she did not want mercy
killing for her husband; rather she wanted help with the medical

Between phone calls, she told us that they have two children - a son
who studies in Class IV in St. Xaviers in Santa Cruz (W) and a
daughter who studies in Class I in Nanavati Public School in Vile
Parle (W). After 26/11, the Taj Trust had stepped in to pay the
children's fees, which is presently about 10k for the son and 25.5k
for the daughter. The daughter's school has several facilities and is
therefore a lot more expensive. The Taj Trust has expressed
reservations about being able to continue to pay fees for the daughter
if it increases by a huge margin after this, which Baby said, may well
be possible as the daughter went to higher grades in school. She
seemed reluctant however to move her daughter to a less expensive
school, as Shyam Sundar really wanted her to attend a school with all
facilities. She also mentioned that the son's fees may drop a little
once he reaches Class V. Apart from this; the children also attend a
tuition class, which comes to about an aggregate of Rs. 1.5k for both
the children.

Regarding Shyam Sundar, she said that doctors had said that recovery
could take between six months and two years. While Taj Trust was
paying for the medical expenses incurred at KEM Hospital, where Shyam
Sundar is undergoing treatment, the costs of medicines and other
things like milk, fruits, creams and extra medicines etc. was not
covered and she mentioned that it all added up to a significant amount
- approx. 8 to 10k a month.

In terms of groceries and supplies, she mentioned that she'd been
getting calls from people willing to help her out and her neighbors,
who were vegetable vendors, gave her vegetables sometimes. Whilst we
were there, she got a call from people who wanted to come over with
some provisions.

We also met Shyam Sundar's sister Sujata, who is 23 years old and has
studied till Class XI. Before Shyam Sundar's condition deteriorated,
she was planning to enroll for a beautician's course, which has now
been put on hold in light of her need to stay at home.
(She wants to join Javed Habib classes as she thinks she will get
exposure to models etc. His fee is atleast 25,000/- . If she has
interest and capability she can join a YMCA kind of place which help
with vocational training this will be cheaper and safer for her too.
Need to talk to her about this)

Baby also mentioned that the Taj Trust had called her for training
from October 4, and promised her a job if she managed to successfully
compete the training and pass all other necessary tests and exams. At
present, Baby is not working anywhere, so the family has no source of

Possibly, if Baby gets a job, and Sujata gets a job too after
completing the beautician's course, the family's earnings would
stabilize a little.

Their immediate requirements are as follows:

(i) Regular source of provisions (depends on how long and how much the
other people willing to help her, actually help); and
(ii) Money for the varied requirements of Shyam Sundar.

Long term requirements:

(i) Job for Baby (hopefully Taj should be able to help here); and
(ii) Enrollment in a beautician's course for Sujata (so that she can
chip in too when she finishes and gets a job);
(iii) Monetary help for better medical facilities. Shayam's could be a
long stretched ailment which needs extensive physiotherapy.

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