Thiruvananthapuram: It was a home coming that not many would have witnessed as Sajjad Thangal returned on Saturday evening after 45 years and waiting there to greet him was his 92-year-old mother.
"What more happiness is there for me than this. This is God's will and this has happened and God has a plan for everything," said Sajjad right after his aged mother hugged him and kissed him as he reached his home near Kollam.
"I have always prayed for this day and finally my prayers have been answered as you are back with me. I had a deep desire that before I die, I wanted to see you and it has happened," said the mother, who waited half her life-time longing to see her son once more, hold him in her arms.
Sajjad was 19, when he left his home, in 1972 for the UAE on a ship and joined work as a store keeper in a cultural organisation. He last visited his home in 1976 when he accompanied a cultural troupe that included then glamorous actress Rani Chandra.
But things turned sour for Sajjad as many thought he also died along with the actress when the ill-fated Indian Airline flight which left from Mumbai to Chennai crashed soon after takeoff killing all on board. The air crash took place on October 12, 1976.
Many thought that Sajjad also on the flight, but it was not so.
Deeply disturbed by the accident Sajjad decided to stay away from everything. He was also worried that an official enquiry into the incident would target him and decided not to visit Kerala again. Some years later, Sajjad shifted to Bombay and engaged in some small business ventures. However, none of them succeeded. Several diseases began haunting him and there was no one to look after him at home.
Sajjad's family members and friends, meanwhile, resigned to the fate that they would never see him again. However, to their surprise, Sajjad, who is now aged 70, was located at the Seal Ashram, near Mumbai.
SEAL Ashram, located at Panvel near Mumbai, is an Indian NGO that provides shelter to helpless people rescued from the streets and railway stations of the metro city.
Sangeeth Kumar, the campus manager of the Ashram, had visited Kerala recently. He went to a Juma Masjid at Kalarimukku in Sasthamcottah, Kollam district, and made enquiries about the family of Sajjad. Soon, he reached Thekkethil House in Padanilam, where Sajjad's mother Fathima Beevi, now aged 91, was waiting for her son for the last 45 years.
Present on the occasion to receive their lost son was over 100 people including his relatives from a 2-year-old to his 92-year-old mother. His village hosted a civic 'reception' at his home and a cake was cut to mark the happy occasion and also present was the local legislator Kovoor Kunjumon.
Rani Chandra was the winner of the Miss Kerala Title. She was a busy actress in the Malayalam film industry in the 1970s. She had also acted in a few Tamil films.
(With IANS inputs)