THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For a deaf-and-mute woman from Kerala, the sketch of a housing colony in Mumbai where she once lived is a symbol of hope. She believes it will help locate her family after 22 years.
Aamina, now known as Maria Francis, called on Culture Minister A K Balan at his office the other day seeking help to trace her parents and siblings.
The Minister made an appeal to Keralites settled in Mumbai through his Facebook page. He has urged them to help the differently-abled woman trace her family using details from her sketch of a housing colony, believed to be located somewhere near Jogeshwari-East in Mumbai.
In 1998, locals found Maria - then aged around 14 years - lonely and stranded at Kattapana bus stand in Idukki. The girl could not recollect her past. All she had with her was a bag full of dance costumes. She also had ‘786’ inscribed on her hand as a tattoo. Auto drivers at the bus stand handed her over to the police.
Maria was given shelter in an orphanage 'Snehashramam' in Kattappana. In 2003, she married a social worker named Rodimon Varghese. The couple has two children.
After constant persuasion by Rodimon, Maria recollected bits and pieces of her past. She told her husband that her native place had gone through strife when she was a child. She also recollects being involved in an accident during the journey to Idukki.
Song rekindles memory
Recently, a song from the 1995 Aamir Khan movie Akele Hum Akele Tum which Maria chanced to hear, helped rekindle her memory. She told Rodimon that the song was picturised near her housing colony and that she had a chance to shake hands with Aamir Khan during the movie shoot. Rodimon made inquiries with the film's director who told him the song was shot at Fantasy Land amusement park at Jogeshwari-East in Mumbai.
Maria drew a sketch of her housing locality with rows of houses separated by narrow lanes and surrounded by wide roads on all four sides. The sketch also had a heart-shaped structure at the centre with a flagpole bearing the national flag.
She also recollects that the housing colony had a mosque and a madrassa within the compound. A railway track too runs behind the colony, she recollected. Maria remembers that her house was half an hour away from the amusement park where she went to see the film shoot.
If Keralites in Mumbai, as well as Malayalam Mission workers, help Maria in her search, it will help her fulfil her long-pending wish to see her parents, Balan wrote on his Facebook page.