Calcutta, Sept. 28: For the last two days, she had been aimlessly roaming the streets of Calcutta, sometimes resting on the pavements, at others napping on park benches.
When police stumbled on 72-year-old Sita Roy early this morning, she was tired and hungry and looking lost, sitting on a pavement on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, a short distance from Maulana Azad College.
At first she would not utter a word, but after she was brought over to the New Market police station and comforted with a hot mug of tea and some biscuits, the sad tale of an old lady ' and a mother of two sons ' who felt unwanted at home slowly emerged.
'When I saw her last night, she did not seem like a pavement dweller at all,' said officer-in-charge of New Market police station Hiren Das.
'Though she looked dishevelled and worn-out, it was evident she came from a decent home. She was even wearing a gold ring.'
as it emerged later, Sita Roy's sons are well established, both senior officers, one in a multinational and the other in government.
From the story the police managed to put together, with some help from one of her sons who later came to claim his mother, on Monday evening Sita Roy stepped out of her home at Ramkrishna Palli in Rahara on the northern fringes of the city, telling one of her daughters-in-law that she would try to return in a short while.
But she told her not to worry even if she was a bit late. 'She had told my wife that she would probably go to the doctor or even to her brother's house in Ballygunj,' Sita Roy's elder son Satyaki said.
But she had other plans. From what the police managed to gather from her, she had decided never to return to the house which she no longer considered home.
Carrying only a purse with some money, she first headed to the Khardah station where she boarded a train for Sealdah. 'She did not know what she would do on reaching Sealdah or where she would go,' Das said. 'All she wanted to do was to just go away from home.'
Once she reached Sealdah, Sita Roy decided to simply walk around. Somewhere along the way to Sealdah, she lost her purse and whatever little money she was carrying. The purse was later recovered by railway police at Dum Dum station. When she reached Sealdah, she neither had any money, nor any plan.
'We really don't know much of what she did in the two days till she was spotted by us,' Das said.
'She either doesn't remember herself or else does not want to tell us.'
Sita Roy was not talking much, but one thing was clear: she had not eaten a morsel since she left home on Monday evening till she had her tea and biscuits early today.
After hours of pleading, the police finally gathered her home telephone number close to noon and called her family.
Within an hour Satyaki arrived with his friends to escort his mother back home. She did not protest when she was asked to return.
'My mother has had some reservations about certain things that have been happening at home,' was all that Satyaki would say. 'But we are all happy that she is coming back home.'