Mumbai City generosity


Millionaire editor turned street-sleeper offered shelter by Mumbai couple

Krishna Kumar, Mumbai, 20 Aug 2013

From a millionaire to a vagabond, the tragic story of former journalist Sunita Naik has taken an interesting turn with a Mumbai-based couple offering her shelter at their Vile Parle home.

The couple – Gregory and Christine Misquitta – learnt about Sunita’s plight from a local daily.

They decided to bring her home along with her Pomeranian dog, Shashi, who has been Sunita’s only companion for the past 12 years. Sunita (65), the former editor of well-known Marathi magazine Grihalaxmi, has been living on a pavement in Versova outside the Aram Nagar Gurdwara for the last two months. Shashi kept her company and the gurdwara people provided her food.

Her plight is in sharp contrast to her early years when she was a rich and independent woman who owned two apartments in the upscale Worli and a bungalow in Pune. She used to travel in a chauffeur-driven car and socialise with the rich and mighty of Mumbai.

All that, however, changed a few years ago when she lost her job. Sunita then decided to dabble in real estate and became an agent. She suffered major losses in the new business and was “fleeced” by many. Soon, she started incurring debts and had to sell off her two cars – a Hyundai Accent and a Tata Indica – and three houses and move out to a leased bungalow in Thane. The Rs.86 lakh the sale earned her soon got over and she was forced to vacate the Thane bungalow.

“I had more than Rs.50 lakh in my account. I don’t know where it all went. I suspect one of my employees usurped my money. I filed a case against her and it is being heard in court. Since I have no money to give to my lawyer, I don’t know what the follow-up in the case is,” said Sunita.

With no roof over her head, Sunita had no option but to live in the open. “I do face problems but what can I do? I don’t have any family members,” she said.

Vinod Singh, the head priest of the gurdwara, said: “She asked us for permission to stay outside the gurdwara. I felt pained when I came to know about her story.”

After Sunita’s story was reported by a local daily, well-wishers came forward to provide her shelter but refused to take in the dog. “How can I abandon Shashi? She has been my loyal companion for the last 12 years,” Sunita said.

Gregory and Christine said they have no problem accommodating Shashi as they themselves have 10 dogs in their flat. “I read about her story and immediately spoke to my wife. Together we decided to bring them (Sunita and Shashi) home,” said Gregory.

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