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Old September 7th, 2010, 10:57 PM
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Talking Ball ke liye kuch bhi karega! Will do anything for ball!

This is like Manmohan Desai's potboiler of the Amar Akhar Anthony variety

Mumbai kid's ball-hunt ends in Tamil Nadu
Mohammed Wajihuddin, TNN, Sep 8, 2010, 12.41am IST

MUMBAI: Seven-year-old Mohammed Fazlu is melancholy. The child, who's separated from his parents and siblings, is hoping against hope that he will be reunited with them by Eid, which falls on Friday or Saturday. But here's the hitch: he's hundreds of miles away and doesn't know how to get to them.

The story of Fazlu, currently lodged at a government reception home in Vellore run by Tamil Nadu's child welfare department, resembles one of those lost-and-found Bollywood sagas of the '70s. Five months ago, while playing football near the railway tracks, his kick landed the ball inside a train which had made a halt there. The child boarded the train to fetch the ball but, as luck would have it, the train left before he could get down. Fazlu then travelled all the way to Vellore, and unsure what to do next, waited on the station platform. Luckily the Railway Protection Force personnel found him and sent him to Vellore's government reception home.

The problem his current custodians face in tracing his family is that Fazlu is unable to tell them much about the locality where he lived in Mumbai. "The child keeps repeating that his house is in a certain Laksha Mohalla of Mumbai but can't say where exactly it is located," Ruby Nakka, member of the child welfare committee, told TOI over the phone on Tuesday. "When I met him again on Tuesday afternoon, he told me wistfully that his parents would miss him on Eid and that his father must have bought new clothes for him."

Fazlu has given Nakka other details: that his father Ghouse Basha is a car mechanic while his mother Dilshad is a housewife. He has five siblings: brothers Shakoor and Roshan and sisters Jamila, Salma and Zaiba. He says he studies at a school but doesn't remember its name. However, he remembers his English teacher, Zaheda. He also remembers a hotel called Mindha near his house.

Failing to get much help from counterparts in Mumbai, Ruby Nakka of TN's child welfare comittee decided to approach some NGOs in the city and make an announcement about Fazlu through some mosques.

However, when he shared this idea with Delhi-based human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi, she immediately stopped him from going to the mosques and called TOI instead. "There are so many mosques in Mumbai, and it would take a long time to make announcements in all of them. Also, if the child's parents are not found, many claimants in the community would have sprung up," Hashmi said. "And it's not just the responsibility of a religious community to take care of a missing child who happens to come from that community. I prefer to bring it to the people's notice, and to his parents too, through media."

Read more: Mumbai kid's ball-hunt ends in Tamil Nadu - The Times of India

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