‘I am all alone in the world’, Arvind Vadilal Patel told me. ‘My wife died in the Ahmedabad earthquake and my house was destroyed and I have no children– my life in Gujarat came to an end.’ The government gave Rs 10,000 as compensation but that was not enough to build a new home-Some years later the 62 year old then set off for Delhi 8 months ago. He slept on footpaths until he discovered the Fatehpuri shelter.
In an earlier life Arvind was a daily wages laborer earning around Rs 3000 per month- today though he has nothing. He sleeps in a shelter, wakes up in the morning, bathes with borrowed soap, wears clothes donated by someone and sets off for Chandni Chowk on foot. He walks around in Chandni Chowk the entire day with breaks for meals and tea at the gurudwara there. In the evening he heads off for the shelter where he either sleeps or watches films. Favourite actor is Dilip Kumar and favourite actress Nutan he confesses on being probed.If he needs medical help he goes to Lok Nayak hospital.
Arvind has no health problems currently but that also maybe because he walks everywhere. If he was leading this life by choice it would be an ideal life- simple,wholesome ,uncomplicated, but look at it without that illusion and you see a man with absolutely nothing.
Arvind Vadilal does not have any cards and has not applied for any pension yet- but he would like to. For someone with zero, Rs 2000 a month will change everything and he deserves that.