Tattoo helps mother-son re-unite after 24 years...

Special Correspondent
Daijiwold Media Network

Thane, Feb 5: Reuniting with his mother after 24 years of separation was the most precious moment of his life for 30 year old Ganesh Raghunath Dhangade, a police commando in Maharashtra police force, who was separated from his parents at the age of six.  For his mother Manda R Dhangade her son’s coming back has been like getting a new lease of life, a Diwali gift, which she cherishes the most.  The mother-son reunion in October last year has all the ingredients of making a Bollywood blockbuster based on a true story.  It is really amazing to know how destiny shaped up the life of a six year old child who came up in life with his hard work and determination and succeeded in tracing her family with the help of a tattoo on his hand and support and cooperation from the senior officials of the police department he is working for.


Ganesh Dhangade whose family hails from Mamu Bhanja in Lokmanya Nagar in Thane went missing at the age of six after he boarded a train with his friends but got separated as it was crowded.   He could not find his way back home and at the age of six he became an orphan spending his time in streets and railway platforms eating from what was available from nearby temples and the Dargah.  A fisherwoman who heard his story took him to his home and Ganesh along with the woman’s son was forced to begging in local trains and streets.  He was given food in exchange for the money he had earned from begging. 

Destiny’s cruel blow

Destiny dealt another cruel blow to his life when he met with an accident and was in coma spending several months in a hospital.  He recovered from this nasty blow and was sent to a local orphanage in Worli as he was an orphan.  After completing his 7th he was shifted to another orphanage in Thane where he completed his 10th.  He then joined Sanket Junior College in Thane and completed his 12th.  Along with his studies Ganesh excelled in sports and games which gave him an opportunity to participate in state and national level competitions.  His studies were funded by Krida Prabodhini, a state run progamme introduced by the government to encourage talented sports persons.

By now Ganesh had by realised that education was the only way out for him to put his derailed life back on track.  His good academic performance, physical fitness coupled with his achievements in sports field facilitated his selection to the Quick Response Team of the police department of Maharashtra in 2011  after je cleared competitive examinations.  

Despite these achievements Ganesh was always bothered by a poignant feeling of not being able to locate his family despite his herculean efforts.  But again fate intervened and this time in a positive way.  Following the attack in Mumbai, the police force had to be extra vigilant and was instructed to be careful in knowing the antecedents of the new recruits.  Unlike other recruits Ganesh could not give any information about his family when asked for.   On knowing that Ganesh was orphan and was trying to locate his family Police inspector Srikanth Sonde took up the task of helping the boy in his mission.    The only clue they could rely on in their efforts was the tattoo on his right arm with the name of his mother - “Manda R Dhangade”.

Mission accomplished

With that clue Ganesh with the help of his friend started searching for people with the same surname but in vain.  They made use of the social networking sites to search but drew a blank.  Finally the twosome got a clue from an old mess worker from the first orphanage where Ganesh was admitted and came to know the address Dhangade had given when he was enrolled in Anand Orphanage in Worli as Mamu Bhanja Darga.  Ganesh and his friend roamed around for nearly two months and their quest led them to Lokmanya Nagar in Thane.  Here they looked for the woman named Dhangade and finally traced her.  Surprisingly it is the tattoo inscribed on the arm of her son that helped the mother and son reunite.

His mother who had lost her husband (Ganesh’s father) soon after he went missing, had married again was living with her three children in the same locality doing household work.  

Upon tracing Manda she was asked about her missing son she said she had tattooed her own name on his right arm.  So when Ganesh put his right arm in front of her she could not believe her own eyes.  Even for Ganesh the reunion is the most treasured moment of his life, something which he values above everything else.  It was a dream come true of bonding with his mother and his siblings, the joy of fulfilling the yearning of the last 24 years becoming a reality in true filmy style.   It was his life’s main mission to trace his family and Ganesh had succeeded in this important mission of his life.  It was nothing less than a miracle for both the mother and the son. 

Ganesh deserves a pat on the back for his importunate efforts as he did not give up his search despite setbacks.  Even his mother had lodged complaint in Thane and Bhivandi stations about her missing son and did everything she could to trace her son including going to children homes but drew a blank.  After ten years of search she finally gave it up and continued with her life.  But she confessed that she was always bothered by a nagging guilt feeling.  

Now that Ganesh has got his family back he has taken up the mantle of taking care of his mother and his siblings and wants to spend as much time as he can with his family.  However, with a modicum of polite dignity Manda says parents should be careful while going out with children to crowded places, though in her case Ganesh had boarded a train with his friend without the knowledge of his parents.

This is an inspiring incident for all of us and is a learning experience in its own way. 

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