MUMBAI -- Hundreds of people from across the globe have come forward to help a 68-year-old Mumbai resident to receive the mortal remains of his son after he committed suicide in the US.
Worli resident Luis Fernandes' son Melvin Fernandes (37) allegedly committed suicide in Virginia, US, on August 15, apparently following some personal issues.
Luis, after getting the news of Melvin's demise, had a double whammy as not only his family's sole bread winner ended his life, but the distraught father could not afford the expenses to bring his son's mortal remains back home from America.
"Melvin's friend Rakesh, who worked with him in the US, launched an online plea to collect money from people across the world and managed to generate over USD 30,036 (nearly Rs 20 lakh), donated by more than 500 people, in three days. Now my uncle (Luis), who is a retired driver, will be able to get his son's body back to Mumbai," Melvin's cousin Rohan Fernandes said.
Melvin's body is presently kept at a mortuary in the US and if everything goes as per plan, then it would be sent to Mumbai in next 24-36 hours, he said.
"As of now formalities are in the last leg to dispatch the body. It takes around three to four days to transfer the fund generated through crowd funding which will be over by today or tomorrow. We are expecting the body to arrive here by Sunday," Rohan said while expressing gratitude towards all their friends and others who stepped-in to help.
About 20 per cent of the total money collected came from absolute strangers from the US, UK, Australia and parts of Asia, said Rohan, who works with a bank here.
Following completion of his hotel management degree course in Mumbai, Melvin flew to America in 2005 and initially after working as a chef on a cruise liner, he took up job as a manager at his friend's restaurant.
"How could he take such a drastic step and end his life by hanging himself is still shattering us," said Rohan.
Melvin had recently got married and his wife, who is currently in Mumbai, had visited him in the US earlier this month, he added.