Odishatv Bureau

Aul: Call it destiny or ill luck, Bharat Mallik, a 65-year old-man of Ahmadpur here in Kendrapara district, is struggling for survival, bearing the burden of his family at an age when he should have been taking rest and looked after by sons and daughters. Reason, his children, two daughters and a young son, are suffering from acute mental disorder. Worse, his elder son, the only bread earner of his family, has gone missing for last one and half years.

Struggling to make both ends meet, he says inconsolably, "Anyone else in my place would have ended life. If on any given day I do not go outside to earn wage, my children go hungry. How long would I bear it?" he added.

Once a happy family, his children were studying in school and colleges and his joy knew no bounds when his elder son took admission into a technical education course. However, that happiness was momentary. His elder son went missing and other three children became mentally unstable. Since then, Bharat and his wife have been left to fend for themselves in a dilapidated hut.

"If the government doesn't come to their rescue, a family would be ruined completely," said Damayanti Mallik, a neighbour.

At least old age pension and medical aid under government welfare schemes would be of great help to the family that has been struggling to survive, said another villager.