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Deaf-mute woman who ran away from Mumbai home is looking for her family

Updated on: 15 November,2019 05:22 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Vinod Kumar Menon |

Maria alias Amina, 36, 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.

Deaf-mute woman who ran away from Mumbai home is looking for her family

Before - Maria on her wedding day in 2003, Now - Maria alias Amina

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."

Varghese 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.

Local clues

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.

MariaMap that Maria drew of where she used to live in Mumbai

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.

Her family

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.

MariaAn artist's impression of what Maria remembers of where she lived in Mumbai when she was Amina. 

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.

How the two met

According to Varghese, he had visited Assisi Snehashram in Idukki in 1998, where he was voluntarily helping the destitute.

"While I was working in the community kitchen inside the ashram, I met Maria and we began communicating in sign language. When I was leaving the ashram a year later, I sensed that Maria was lonely and needed support. I spoke to my parents and the ashram management who gave their consent for our marriage," he recalled.

MariaMaria remembers watching the shooting of Aamir Khan starrer Akele Hum Akele Tum at an amusement park near where she lived

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.

MariaRondymon and Maria's wedding day in 2003

Sister Anitta FSD, Superior General & Assistant Director, said that Maria stayed on at the ashram and assisted in the kitchen. "She was a perfectionist and we gradually realised that she was brought up well."

MariaSister Anitta FSD, Superior General & Assistant Director, Assisi Snehashram in Idukki

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

Years that Maria has been away from city

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