RAS AL KHAIMAH // Neighbours smelt an awful stench for days before they realised something had gone horribly wrong.
The stench became so strong that eventually someone called the police. What the officers found left the neighbourhood in shock.
The decomposed body of Anil Kumar, 44, and his wife, Sreeja, 31, along with their eight-year-old daughter, Anusree, were hanging from the ceiling of their home in what police believe was a murder-suicide due to financial hardship.
A spokesman for the Indian Consulate in Dubai, which is liaising with the police in RAK, confirmed that Sreeja was six months pregnant.
Morning coffee talk at the Mamourah Restaurant in the area now borders on the grim as neighbours ask themselves what they could have done to help.
"Each neighbourhood could have given a hundred or thousands, it would have been no problem", said Hassan Al Shehhi, 65. "This is what we must do in Ramadan, we could have raised Dh1 million."
"We had no idea there was a problem," said Mohammed Hassan, 52. "He had a car and he worked at a company. We would have given money but nobody said anything, nobody knew anything."
Julan, a quiet neighbourhood near the RAK mountains, is known as a peaceful residential area for Emirati and Asian families.
Neighbours had no idea of the family's financial struggles. Indeed, one family who lived at a house attached to that of the deceased said they did not know their neighbours at all; there was a lack of integration between Asian and Emirati communities.
"No, I don't know them. They're Indian," said Fatima Ahmed, 53. "All I know is that there was a bad smell. Then lots of police outside. But I don't know why or what the problem was. We saw a lot of cars, but that's all."
All the neighbours agreed on one thing, though: they would have helped the family at any cost, had they known about their financial problems.
"We don't know the Indians here," said Mr Al Shehhi. "It's 'hello', and that's it. We'd help but they don't come to us, you know how this country is. We don't know what goes on in a house. Of course, we would have given anything to them, but I don't know who is eating and who is not eating."
The Indian Consulate spokesman said, "We expect news on the repatriation of the bodies by this evening and expect the bodies to be sent back to India in the next few days. But it depends on the investigations of the UAE authorities, and we are working with them on the issue."
RAK Police have finished their investigation, and have transferred the case to the courts. The courts will resolve the case today, said a senior court official.
In their final days, the family kept their suffering to themselves, neighbours said.
Mani Easwar, a grocer who lives nearby, said the family had moved to the neighbourhood only about three months ago, and had not purchased anything for weeks.
"The family kept itself in isolation. For the last one and a half months they never came outside," said Mr Easwar, who is 40.
The father, who worked in the transport industry, had told Mr Easwar that he had some financial problems, and asked to be given food on credit.
Such requests have become commonplace, as people now take up to three months to repay Mr Easwar for food. Things have become so bad that Mr Easwar plans to sell his business.
"For the past year, year and a half, eight out of ten people are having the problem in small businesses," said Mr Easwar. "People are hesitant to buy. We can give them food items but we can't help financially, we are not in a position to do this.
"Nowadays, everyone is suffering, but it takes time," he said.
Ismail Khan, of Doha Real Estate, said he gives families two or three months to bring rent payments before they are faced with eviction.
"We've had too many problems, bounced cheques, no payment for two or three months," said Mr Khan. "I don't want to go to the police station; we want to finish the problem before."