Standing in front of the mirror one day when he was eight years old, Gautam Edwin Meerstadt suddenly realised that he looked very different from his parents — he was brown and they were white. A few days later, his Dutch parents told him that they had adopted him from an orphanage in Pune when he was just two months old.
Now a 32-year-old car mechanic in the northern Netherlands, Meerstadt is back in his country of birth for the first time, looking for his roots. He has been here for two months, and has not yet been able to track down his biological parents. But this week, he managed to trace, and meet, the man who saved his life as a baby — a retired police constable, Baban Nathu Satkar.
Satkar, who lives in Manchar village in Rajguru Nagar taluka, 100 km northwest of Pune, found baby Gautam in a dustbin in a village in Khed taluka, and took him to Pune’s government-run Sassoon Hospital, which treated the baby and then admitted it to Shrivatsa, an orphanage in the city.
“It has been a long struggle to find out where I come from,” an emotional Meerstadt told HT. “I will continue to search for my biological parents during my stay. But at least I have found the person who saved my life.”
When Meerstadt — who plans to stay here for two more months — visited Satkar in his village on Monday, it was a moving experience for both. “This meeting is something I never expected in my life,” said the retired constable.