It is the stuff fairytales and movies are made of. But it happened for real in Hyderabad on Thursday.
A mother was reunited with her two daughters after 28 years, thanks to their tireless determination and some help from the city police. Ayesha and Fatima, both in their 20s, travelled all the way from Dubai to track the mother they had last seen when they were both infants.
Nazia Begum, 60, was married to Rasheed Eid Obaid Rifaq Masmari, a UAE national, in 1981. After a few months, she joined her husband in the Fujairah district of UAE, when she discovered he was married to someone else already, with whom she apparently could not get along.
After the birth of her daughters, her husband began to torture her physically and mentally. Reports say she was thrown out by him, who divorced her by a triple talaq and sent her back to India without her children. According to the Hindu, her husband had got on the flight to Hyderabad with her, along with their daughters, but got off the plane with the children, leaving her alone and with no option but to fly back by herself, just before it was about to depart.
As the girls grew up with their father in the UAE, back in India, Nazia Begum's family got her married a second time to a fruit vendor in Bidar, Karnataka. She has children from that marriage as well.
It was only after the death of their father seven years ago that Ayesha and Fatima learned the truth about their mother and decided to trace her. Unfortunately, they had access to no details, other than a few documents and some basic information, to go by. With a photo of their mother as their only clue, the girls came to Hyderabad three years ago, but had to go back with a heavy heart after the search for one person in a city of millions proved futile.
Not to be overcome by frustration and disappointment, they returned in January and met the DCP South Zone, V. Satyanarayana, who formed a small team to help them find their mother. After going through marriage records in the Old City and meeting qazis who conducted these ceremonies thirty years ago, Nazia Begum was finally traced by the police. All she could remember was that her youngest daughter was born with an extra finger, a fact that was subsequently verified by Fatima.
The three women had an emotional reunion at the office of DCP South Zone in Purani Haveli, where they held each other and wept, as journalists and photographers looked on.