Time is a cruel thing. A decade and a half of alienation can make a mother and son unrecognizable to each other. But what doesn’t fade is the love in their hearts.
When you meet Rama Devi Chowdhary and her son Mitrajit, not for a moment it appears that the two have just been united after a separation of 15 long years, such is their bonding.
Their story makes you believe in the power of faith. Criminal lawyer Rama Devi Chowdhary left her home in Kolkata after she had some differences with her husband. She came to Delhi to pursue a career in law. Beginning from Patiala Court, she soon started practising in the Supreme Court.
But her career suffered a blow in 2012 when it was discovered during one of her hearings that she was suffering from schizophrenia. The judge directed the police to have her admitted in IHBAS where she was treated for her mental illness for nine months.
In 2013, she was shifted to a government shelter. After two years, she came to the home run by Rahab Center For Hope, an NGO that works for abused and trafficked women. Rama Devi began a new life here. In the five years of her stay, Rama Devi slowly opened up in the family like environment. “She would keep herself busy reading and writing. On Independence Day, she would write such wonderful speeches. There was tremendous improvement in her condition,” says Eunice Stephen, founder, Rahab.
But the pangs of separation from her child often resurfaced when she was alone. Unable to recollect his name or any other detail that could lead her to the child, she kept her pain to herself.
And one day, in the month of June, a miracle happened. In a flashback of memories, Rama Devi was reminded of her little boy’s name – Mitrajit.
Longing to meet the son that she had left back home when he was only seven, Rama Devi requested Eunice to help her find Mitrajit. But no record of her husband or his family was available and Eunice didn’t know where to begin. Her efforts to get some information from Rama Devi’s brother in America yielded nothing. Rama Devi’s husband had relocated from Kolkata and no one seemed to have his address.
When the shelters where Rama Devi had lived in the past could not help with any information, Eunice and her team decided to look up social media in the hope that they might get some clue about her son.
As they typed Mitrajit Chowdhary , they came across several profiles on Facebook. They had absolutely no idea which one of them could be Rama Devi’s son. So messages were sent out to each person.
And one of them indeed happened to be Rama Devi’s son Mitrajit! A message flashed on Mitrajit’s phone screen that said, “Hello, do you have a relative called Rama Devi Chowdhary? We have some information about her.”
“I stared at the screen for the initial few seconds…I could hardly believe that it was finally happening…that my mother had finally reached out, as I always believed she would one day. Without wasting time, I typed yes,” says Mitrajit
When Mitrajit spoke to his mother for the very first time, he was very nervous. “I was shaking. I went blank for a while. She took my name… said Mitrajit, this is mom speaking. It was a lot to sink in,” he says.
Mitrajit made a video call the next day. “I could not recognize her… She had all grey hair..she looked so different from the picture that I had of her taken at a family wedding. I kept looking at her, trying to absorb that she was finally right there in front of me. After that, we started talking regularly,” says Mitrajit who works as an HR executive in Visakhapatnam.
Soon after, Mitrajit started planning his trip to Delhi. On 25 September, the two finally met. It took a while for Rama to recognize her son who is now a 22-year-old confident young man working for as an HR executive for a firm in Visakhapatnam. “As I had a closer look, I saw the same childhood face…the only difference is that a beard covers it now,” she says.
Mitrajit says he sorts of knew that this is how it was going to end. “I was a kid when she left… it was a lot to deal with. All my dad had been able to tell me was that she had gone for her career and that she might return one day. I had no idea what happened to my mother. There was no source to trace her. I would sit by the beach and think about her..about not having a complete family…but something in me always told me that this will change…she will return one day.”
Mitrajit is glad that he made a Facebook profile that finally led him to his mother. “Thank god I didn’t use any nickname unlike many friends. It would have been tricky to find me otherwise,” says the boy who used to google up his mother’s name every time he used a computer in the hope to find her whereabouts.
Rama Devi and her son are now on their way to Visakhapatnam where she will meet her estranged husband after 15 years. The son can’t be happier that his parents are going to be united once again.
“Mitrajit’s father never married, time has healed all differences and it’s such a touching reunion…I wish we are able to unite more such families that are torn apart due to circumstances,” says Eunice who had made it a mission to trace Mitrajit for Rama.
Before leaving for Visakhapatnam, the mother-son went to visit Birla temple and enjoyed eating out in the city. She is already acting like a typical mum, stuffing me with food all the time,” says a beaming Mitrajit.
Love does find its way through the gloomiest of allies.