IT has been a mute journey of 22 years, literally, for a Kerala couple, trying to trace the family of the deaf and mute Maria alias Amina, 36, who ran away from home in Mumbai two decades ago and landed in Idukki, Kerala, 1,540 km away from the home she no more remembers. Maria has been struggling to reach her parents and siblings in Mumbai, with help from her husband, Rondymon Varghese, 37, a carpenter from Edatehua, Allapuzha. The two got married in 2003 after they met in an ashram for destitute people in Idukki.
Varghese would often download Bollywood songs on his mobile phone for Amina to watch, trying to recall some locations in Mumbai.
A mother to six children, Maria is waiting to meet her parents and siblings, Varghese told mid-day.
Last month, he downloaded the title track of Akele Hum Akele Tum starring Aamir Khan and to his surprise, “Maria began jumping in joy after she saw a particular scene where Aamir Khan with his son is seen in an amusement park.”
arghese immediately got to work and figured that the movie was released in 1995, directed by Mansoor Khan. He made further enquires and reached Khan over a phone call. “I visited him last week in Conoor where he told me that the shoot was done at ‘Fantasy Land’ amusement park in Jogeshwari East,” Varghese narrated.
Varghese says that Maria was present at the park at the time of the film shoot. She had even informed him that she was happy seeing Aamir Khan and had returned home nearby soon after. The couple have now made a sketch of the locality. It showed a lot of houses in the area where she lived in, which is predominantly Muslim. The place also had a mosque and a madrassa nearby. It had an open ground with a heart-shaped concrete structure as a base for hoisting the flag.
According to Maria, the place where she lived also had many garment manufacturing outlets, and dupatta dye centres. It had some bangle manufacturing units and a railway track nearby.
According to Varghese, Maria remembered that she was the fifth among her six siblings and the eldest being a brother. Like her, one of her brothers was deaf and mute since birth. Maria remembered herself as being short-tempered but did not recollect why she had left home.
Maria also vaguely remembered that her father was a truck mechanic, her mother was fair, slim and short.
“I am hopeful that with these clues, we will be able to reach or get some information about her parents. I am determined to help my wife trace them or at least know that they are alive or dead,” he said.
“I am willing to come to Mumbai with Maria. We will be more than happy to meet Maria’s parents, and inform them about their six grandchildren. We will take them along to Kerala. This is my only mission in life at this moment,” Varghese told mid-day.
He had earlier this year taken Maria to the Government Medical College Hospital, Alappuzha, where ENT experts along with Members of Medical Board certified that Maria has “bilateral sensor neural hearing loss” and the disability is of permanent nature and the degree of disability have been found to be 85 percent.
“We have just managed to get her Aadhar card and will apply for the disability pension,” he added.
‘Perfectionist Maria’Father Francis Domnic, head of Assisi Snehashram in Idukki, said that Maria was brought to the ashram in 1997 by the local police after she was found loitering at a bus stop. “She was not able to speak or hear but with the help of sign language, she told us that she was from Mumbai,” he said.
Bollywood director Mansoor Khan who was approached by the couple, told mid-day, “Initially, I was hesitant to help the couple since I could not understand the issue on phone. But when the two met me, I knew they were genuine and humble beings. I then contacted the film producer, who recalled the place as ‘Fantasy Land’ in Jogeshwari.
Year the couple met in the ashram
Year the couple got married after meeting in an ashram
22 Years that Maria has been away from city