A 35-year-old woman who ran away from home 14 years ago is set to return to her family thanks to the efforts of a suburban non-governmental organisation (NGO).
After an argument with husband Salim Shah, Kanno left her home in Madhya Pradesh’s Kodia village with her year-old daughter in 1993.
She went to Ajmer where she claims she lost her daughter and somehow landed up on a train to Mumbai.
Ever since she reached the city, she has been staying at Byculla’s Ashadham Ashram.
Members of Andheri-based NGO Karuna, which works for the needy, visited the Ashram on Friday to distribute blankets. A member who noticed Kanno swabbing the floor there persuaded her to talk about herself.
“She appeared mentally challenged,” said Karuna member Arvind Shah. “She seemed lost and repeatedly said she wanted to go home. She had a faint memory of her district — Rana Kheda — and vaguely remembered her father’s name.”
The members approached Byculla police station. “We also called the Rana Kheda police station and they confirmed that Kanno’s father, Shamsher Shah, had lodged a missing person’s complaint 14-years ago,” said Arvind. In two days, the NGO traced Shamsher, who works at the village dargah, and informed him about Kanno.
“For years, we did not even know whether Kanno was alive or dead,” said 73-year-old Shamsher, who arrived in Mumbai on Saturday. “Everyday, we would wake up thinking she would be standing in front of us.”
He said that Kanno had become mentally unstable sometime after marriage. “One day, she suddenly left her home after a minor tiff with her husband. We searched everywhere but could not find her,” said Shamsher. “Her husband, who could not stay away from her, died of stress and trauma in 1996.”
On Sunday, Shamsher and Kanno left for their home where her two children — 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter — are awaiting her return.
Kanno herself doesn’t say much. “I just remember that I had left my house in anger,” she said, peeping out fearfully from a blanket.