Homecoming for Girija Bhai

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REUNITED: Mayor Mercy Williams with Girija Bhai and her husband at the Palluruthy Relief Settlement on Wednesday.
REUNITED: Mayor Mercy Williams with Girija Bhai and her husband at the Palluruthy Relief Settlement on Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Girija Bhai does not remember anything. When the police picked her up from the streets in the city on May 9 last year, she had already lost control over her mind.

She was put up at the Palluruthy Relief Settlement and treated. On Wednesday, she looked a lot relieved to be reunited with her husband Panduranga Nith Naware. And the PRS officials were visibly elated to help yet another person to return home.

Girija Bhai left her home at Nagpur in Maharashtra on April 27, 2008. Although her family posted missing notices in local dailies and television channels, nothing came out of it. By that time, she had left the State and reached Kerala. She still does not remember how.

At the PRS, she was handled with patience and care. “Initially, she was very irritable and would not cooperate. All we knew about her was that she came from Nagpur,” said P.G. George, Superintendent of the PRS.

But she was fortunate as she was placed under Naina Momaya, a student of psychology with the Annamalai University and presently attached to the PRS. Ms. Momaya was from Nagpur and she started collecting information about Girija Bhai.

“All she could tell was that her husband sold oranges in one of the markets. I passed on this information to my uncle at Nagpur and he tracked her husband, ” she says.

“It is hard, often impossible, to track the families of those picked up from the streets in mentally unstable condition,” said Mr. George.

The Settlement, which has a capacity of 170 inmates, is already home for more than 300. On Wednesday, Mayor Mercy Williams and officials of the People’s Council for Social Justice were present as Girija Bhai started her journey back home.

And as they left, Kurshida Moosa, another aged woman from Mumbai, looked lost. She was also found in a mentally unstable condition and has been treated at PRS. She has been here for the last 10 years.

Even though her family was contacted, they were unwilling to take her back.




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