TN man who went missing as a child reunites with family after 10 yrs of memory loss
In the Hollywood film Lion, the protagonist sets out to find out about his birth family as an adult. This film, based on true events, is a lot similar to G Sadasivam’s life. As someone who had his memory wiped clean in an accident in 2008, Sadasivam grew up in hostels, assuming he was an orphan.
“That I too had a family and that I was not alone was news to me just a week ago. I never thought this would happen,” says Sadaivam when TNM caught up with him over the phone.
All this, thanks to the efforts of his friend Bharani aka Lokesh. “He was the one who felt I should find out about my family. He’s known me for a long time and nudged me to find out about them,” he shares.
The story behind Sadasivam losing his family is one that involves an accident. “I don’t remember anything from back then. I know I was in an accident and later sent to the Don Bosco Anbu Home (Anbu Illam) in Vysarpadi in Chennai by the hospital which treated me. I have no recollection of the past even now,” says Sadasivam.
As his story would have it, Sadasivam was then sent to the hostel’s branch in Villupuram when he turned 18. Sadasivam had studied until class 10 in Don Bosco school in Vysarpadi. Staying at the Villupuram home, he worked at a soap making factory for about a year before Govindsamy, a lorry driver, offered to take him under his care.
“He has two daughters and a son and he offered to teach me driving. I worked as a cleaner in his lorry for three years before learning how to drive. He treated me like his own son. He even helped me get license,” he adds.
Having assumed himself to be an orphan Sadasivam thought very little of what could’ve been his real story. “My friend Bharani, however, wanted to know my true story. He felt I shouldn’t stay alone in life.”
Sadasivam's friend Bharani
This was when the two of them went back to the Anbu Illam in Vysarpadi where he was first sent to after the accident. The hostel had used the information available in the bus pass to start a bank account for Sadasivam in 2010.
“No one had tried to find out about my family back then and the person who was in charge has changed since. We used the bus pass number to find out that I had studied in Medavakkam High School. We were able to use this information to trace the address to my uncle’s house in Pallikaranai.”
While it remains unclear why no one tried to find out more about his family back then, Sadasivam shares that he’s glad no false claims were made. “I have no complaints. If they had sent me to the wrong family who knows what might have happened,” he says.
Sadasivam learnt that his parents had sent him to stay with his uncle and aunt, both of them visually impaired, since they had no children of their own. The accident and the subsequent missing of the 13-year-old had created a rift between the brothers, which Sadasivam is hoping to fix now.
Young Sadasivam with father and uncle (left)
“I’ve been visiting my relatives in my hometown in Thiruvannamalai. Everyone I’ve met so far has cried and have shown me pictures from my childhood. Even though this is hard to believe, the entire experience has been surreal,” he shares adding “I initially refused to believe that I have a family. Surely, it can be difficult to accept a past that I cannot even recall.”
In order to convince himself of the truth, Sadasivam also check with the police station to and found that a missing person complaint had been registered in 2008. “Even now it’s hard to believe,” he chuckles.
24-year-old Sadasivam now own a cab and works as a driver for an IT company. Having reunited with his family 10 years later, he adds the events of the past one week have been an overwhelming experience and concludes that even though he might have found out that he now has a family, his friends will always be his first family.