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ANITA - Reaching Home: Part 3

My house was near the hospital,“ said Anita.

When they reached the hospital, there was no trace of any house nearby. Both Joseph and Pranita got confused as well as disappointed. Anita said that her father was a Rickshaw puller, so they searched for any Rickshaw stand nearby. When they found one, they enquired with all the rickshaw pullers showing Anita if they knew her; but no one recognized her.

One of the rickshaw pullers finally said, "Babu, there are some old folks who used to ride Rickshaws many years back, maybe they can help.”

The man took Joseph, Pranita, and Anita to a spot where underneath a tree a few old men were playing cards. Joseph showed Anita to them and mentioned her father’s name. One of the old men looked very carefully at Anita. Finally, he shook his head and said, “The name which you said, I think I knew him and he rode Rickshaw along with me. But his daughter went missing twenty years ago. Is she the same girl?” Joseph and Pranita felt relieved that at least one person knew about her. The old man said further, “After his daughter was lost, the father was heartbroken and went away from here. I’ve heard that his son lives at Sector No 6.” That was more than enough clues for Joseph and Pranita. They thanked the old Rickshaw puller, took an auto, and went in search of Sector No. 6. After traveling for about two hours, they finally reached their destination.

After a brief inquiry, they were finally able to locate his house. They knocked at the door. The door was opened by a man of about 40 years of age and behind him stood his wife.

Anita recognized the man. With a big smile, she called out, “Bhaiya, how are you?

The woman standing behind the man shouted loudly in excitement, “Are you, Anita?

Anita grinned and nodded positively.

Seeing Anita after over 20 years, her brother failed to recognize his beloved sister at first glance. His wife began to tell him in an excited voice, “Don’t you recognize her? We were not married then. But after our marriage, I looked at Anita’s photograph very carefully. I can recognize her face. She is that sister of yours who was lost 20 years ago.

Joseph and Pranita, who were standing behind were observing the occurrences. Joseph went forward and explained to Anita’s brother and sister-in-law how she was found in the street, what her illness was, how she stayed for seven long years at Navchetana and underwent psychiatric treatment and has recovered from her mental illness….. Everything was informed to them.

After hearing all the details, Anita’s brother and sister-in-law hugged her tightly and began to cry. The brother then narrated the story of Anita’s disappearance twenty years ago, when she was just ten years old. A woman in their neighborhood lured Anita with the promise to show her Delhi. When Anita did not return in time, he went to that woman to enquire about his sister. The woman simply told him that Anita has died in a train accident. The brother smelled some foul play and got furious. He assaulted the woman due to which he had to spend some time in jail. The woman finally confessed that she has sold Anita to some person in Delhi. It was a case of human trafficking and the woman was finally arrested. After that, there was no news of Anita for the last twenty years and they have almost forgotten her. Saddened by Anita’s loss, their parents left the city and moved to the village.

At the end of all the discussions, Joseph and Pranita handed over Anita to her brother and left Rourkela. After some days, the brother informed us over the phone that he sent Anita to her parents in the village and everyone in the family as well as the whole village was very happy to get back their long-lost daughter whom they had presumed to be dead.

Anita is happily living with her parents now. She calls us sometimes over the phone and asks about her fellow residents.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Dr. Anjana Goswami, the founder-director of Ashadeep has extensively covered various aspects of Mental Health in her publications. She has authored two Assamese books on the first-hand experience of working with homeless individuals with mental illness and their transformational stories. Dr. Goswami’s association with Special Olympics Bharat also gives her an insight into the importance of sports for individuals with disabilities, which is often reflected in her writings.

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