Why Mercy Couldn’t Live in the UAE

After Mercy moved to the US with Son 1 in February 2006, hostilities by DIL 1 necessitated her leaving to stay with Son 2. He then accompanied her to India in January 2008 to attend my wedding. However, as he hadn’t booked her a return ticket, she came to stay with my parents in Abu Dhabi on a visit visa.

At that point, a visit visa could be issued for a maximum of three months. The holder then has to leave the UAE and can return for another three months. No further extensions are then allowed for that year. So after the first three months of her stay were up, my grandmother and mom visited me in India in May 2008 for a week, before going back for the next three months.

Then arose the question of where she would go after this stay. Son 2 showed no inclination of welcoming her back and neither was she ready to live in Mumbai alone. So again, Son 1 came to get her and again, DIL 1’s increasingly abusive behaviour forced her to retreat to Son 2’s house.

Later, as the situation in Son 2’s house started turning hostile, and it became evident that his priority was to appease his wife at the cost of his mother’s well-being, my parents looked into the procedure of getting her a UAE residence visa so she could live with them permanently.

Dad visited the concerned embassies and readied his part of the paperwork; all that was then needed was a document from Mercy. To allow her permanent residency in the UAE, the rules demanded that she submit an affidavit stating that this son-in-law was the only male relative left to provide for her.

The thought itself was abhorrent to her: despite the ill-treatment she suffered in their homes, she couldn’t make such a claim with two sons alive and well. Both sons objected to this too; Son 1 was genuinely upset, but I suspect Son 2, and more importantly DIL 2, assumed my parents shared their mercenary views and would use said affidavit to wrest control of Mercy’s flat.

Ultimately, nothing came out of this endeavour. My parents then asked her to come for a visit. Son 2 booked her a one-way ticket. When dad asked for a return ticket as she couldn’t stay indefinitely in the UAE, Son 2 took offence and then cancelled the trip entirely without a word to my parents. It was only when mom called up my grandmother to ask when she’d be arriving that she said she wasn’t; what Son 2 had told her was my dad didn’t want her to come. And she believed it.

Given the visa constraints of the UAE, was my dad’s request to find out when she’d return unreasonable? Shouldn’t Son 2 have been concerned about that himself, as to where his mother would go after her visa expired? And where was Daughter 2 in this whole episode? She stayed out of it at the insistence of SIL 2, who also did not want this old lady living in his house.

It’s so terribly sad. Had these younger siblings and their spouses been honest, ethical people, or my grandmother been a stronger lady, able to assert her rights, she could have lived a glorious old age, taking turns staying with each of her children.

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