Octogenarian Lalita Subramanyam, a resident of Wadala in central Mumbai, was in for a pleasant surprise on Monday morning when the police landed at her doorstep.
Ms. Subramanyam has been living alone in her flat for the last 25 years and is on the local police’s list of ‘senior citizens requiring care and protection’.
Two of her children live in the United States, while another son lives in Bengaluru.
As her children could not visit her on Monday on her 83rd birthday, the Matunga police, which help her with chores such as purchase of medicines and bank transactions, decided to give her a surprise. Officials from the police station reached her house with a cake and bouquet of flowers.
Ms. Subramanyam cut the cake in the presence of Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe, who was the Zonal DCP of this area last year, and senior police inspector B. M. Kakad, along with a police constable who regularly calls on her.
An overwhelmed Subramanyam blessed the officers. “She is like my mother...she was very happy with the birthday celebration,” said Mr. Kakad. “She said her children visited her a few times every year and were unable to come frequently,” he said.
The Mumbai police have a dedicated helpline — 1090 — for senior citizens. Senior citizens living alone call the helpline if they need any help, or, sometimes, just because they feel lonely.
Late R.R. Patil, when he was the Home Minister, started the initiative under which police officials regularly meet the elderly living alone.