Love - Filling Up The Blanks
by Life Positive
It's not hard to imagine why. The premise of the book itself is heartbreakingly poignant, a seven-year-old Indian child adopted in a family in Spain returns as an adult to her native soil in search of her natural family, and to fill the blank spaces in her life. But even more compelling is the beauty of the narration. Asha Miro is a writer of rare distinction. There is something so candid, open and vulnerable in her telling; her feel for her situation and the events that unfold are communicated with such insightful depth and detail that one is completely engrossed in the book the moment one opens it.
That she is a remarkable person comes through in many ways. She chooses to return to the places of her childhood – Mumbai. Where she was raised in an orphanage, and Nasik, the place of her birth – not in pomp and pageantry like other tourists, staying in the Taj and travelling in limousines. She decides to return as a social worker, with an NGO called Setem along with some other Spaniards, staying in a chawl in Andheri East and helping out with a school. How difficult the transition must have been from her own privileged upbringing can well be imagined, but there is acceptance and stoicism in her narration, and a willingness to look at a different culture through its own framework, which bespeaks a rare maturity.
One is also astounded at the determination with which this little child commandeered her own destiny. Growing up in Regina Pacis in Mumbai, a Catholic institution, one day she decided to climb the stairs to the Mother Superior's residence, and to announce, "I want some parents.” Every day the little girl would repeat her plea until the Mother, or fate, provided her with them – a couple who were looking to adopt a pair of twin girls from the orphanage. Destiny determined that one of them, Mary, should die and Asha took her place, big sister to little Fatima.
Because we become interested in her, Asha's story becomes all the more fascinating. It is divided into two parts – Daughter of the Ganges and The Other Side of the Moon. The former deals with her first trip which culminates in her finding her way to the Nasik convent where her natural family gave her up to be adopted. She discovers who she was born to, and why she was given away.
Asha returns saddened but illumined, the darkness of her earliest days having dissolved. She uses her experience to counsel adopting parents (never change their names, she advises) and to write her book.
The second part of the book deals with her return to India in 2005, ten years after her first trip. The huge success of the book has generated a project to make a film based on it.
However, more drama awaits her as she finds that the reason given for her adoption was false. She makes contact with her natural family and meets her sister Asha, and finds out what would have been her own destiny had she continued to live where she was born.
This book is an absolute must for anyone who has been adopted or has adopted. It is imperative that parents know how vital it is for adopted children to know about their natural parents. And for the rest of us, this book is a poignant example of the twists and turns of destiny; and how one small staunch child could create an astonishing life for herself. Today, a television personality who was nominated for a Spanish Personality of the Year award in 2004 for her work on multicultural integration and international adoption, Asha shows that life has its own designs for its children, and that we would do well to trust it.
- Suma Varughese
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