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17 October 2013

Lost at 7, tattoo helps Indian cop find mother after 24 years

It's a story straight from a 1970s Bollywood thriller. A boy separated from his parents 24 years ago was recently reunited with his family in Thane after his mother identified a tattoo she had inscribed on his right arm when he was a toddler.

The tattoo, bearing her name 'Manda R Dhangde,' has now faded with time, but whatever little there is left of it was enough to convince her that the big, strong 25-year-old who stood in front of her was her son Ganesh, who had gone missing when he was seven.

Ganesh Raghunath Dhangade was separated from his parents in 1989 aged just six when they were boarding a train. He ended up on his own in Mumbai, where he was cared for by a fisherman and then at two orphanages.
A car accident later left him unconscious for four months, struggling to remember details of his family or home, and he spent years rummaging through missing person records at police stations -- before joining the force himself in 2011.

"I had not given up on finding my family," Dhangade told AFP on Thursday.
He pressed on with his search using the only clue he had: a tattoo of his mother's name, Manda, on his right arm.
It was his senior, police inspector Shrikant Sonde, who took upon himself the task of finding Ganesh's family.
One day, while chatting, Ganesh told Sonde how he had got lost in the crowd at Thane railway station when he was in Class 2.
He had taken a train to CST on his own at that time and eventually landed in the Worli orphanage, he said. Though the seven-year-old Ganesh remembered his surname, he did not remember the names of his parents.
Sonde and his team went back to the orphanage recently and asked for details about Ganesh. An elderly person in the canteen there told them that when Ganesh was a kid, he would say that his family came from a place near the 'Mama-Bhanja hill.'
The police team found out that this hill was near Roopadevipada, a tribal hamlet in Thane's Wagle Estate area. There, they found a family with the surname Dhangde and inquired with the elderly woman of the house if she had lost a son.
When she said she had, the police team asked her if there had been any identification mark on him. "She promptly said she had tattooed her name on his right arm, and there, the story had a happy ending, with mother and son hugging each other," inspector Sonde said.
The mother said, "I was so happy to see Ganesh, I couldn't hold back my tears. This has given me a new lease of life." Manda lost her husband Raghunath some time ago.
Ganesh said, "It's a great moment for me, and it has been possible because of the co-operation of my seniors and colleagues."
"We were silent for minutes, then we both just hugged and kept on crying."
Dhangade now ensures he spends as much lost time as he can with his mother, two brothers and sister.
"I still cannot believe what has happened in recent weeks," he said.
"It's really God's wish. A miracle."
[Source 1 2]

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