129 Lenin Sarani – Story of Vernon Thomas


A House for Mr Thomas Now Under

Threat from Promoters

    KOLKATA: Vernon Thomas has penned as many as 105 books and over 250 short stories in a career spanning four decades. But this Anglo-indian writer (78), who was born and brought up in Kolkata, is spending sleepless nights since last couple of months after some unknown persons started inquiring about his health from his neighbours.

Vernon Thomas with his two adopted sons and grandson at his house

    Reason: the sprawling bungalow-patterned house at 129, Lenin Sarani, where his ancestors entered as tenants in 1926, his parents married in 1932 and he was born in 1934. Though Thomas does not want to leave the house his family has been living in for long, someone claiming to be legal owner of the property wants to raise a high-rise on the land.

    “I’m feeling a threat to my life from the time locals told me that some unknown persons have been enquiring about my health. I’ve been fighting eviction attempts since 1963 and this time I’m really worried. They are just waiting for me to die,” said Thomas, who lodged a police complaint in the first week of March.

    Thomas hardly has any vision, something which forced him to stop writing two years ago. Before his eyes failed him, he had kept up his authorship for a couple of years, albeit with a help of secretary taking his dictations.

    Thomas quit his job in 1977 to devote all his time to writing. The sprawling mansion at 129 Lenin Sarani is flanked by two three-storied buildings, but all six families residing in these tenements left over the past one-year after receiving hefty payouts. Thomas is only tenant, who has continued to stay put. As matters currently stand, there would be no claimants to his property if he were to die.

    “They first tried to evict us as soon as my father died in 1963 and stopped receiving rent. My mother, who had been with me since birth, was completely immobile. Hence, I started paying rent to the rent control department,” Thomas told HT.

    No one enquired about them since, as he continued paying his rent of Rs.168 per month in the name of Ajit Kumar Sabuin, the lawyer of former owner Ashalata Dasi and claimed to have become the owner after her death. However, trouble began a couple of years back when Partha Sabuin, who claimed to be the fourth son of Ajit Kumar Sabuin, visited his place, wanted to know when Thomas intended to leave the place and allegedly threatened him with dire consequences if he didn’t.

    “He told me that he was the only person on Earth, who could throw me out of this place. Even then I had lodged a police complaint,” Thomas said.

    Though the elderly author did not marry, he adopted two kids — Bablu Das and Lakkhi Maity, both born into humble households. Apart from them and the kin of Bablu Das, family members of their servants, who died a long time back, are also fellow lodgers with Thomas. The veteran author had them educated and they are currently sorted with jobs of their own.

    “They had nowhere to go. Hence I let them stay with me though they no longer serve me,” Thomas said.

Courtesy: Hindustantimes


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