KISAN UPADHAYA narrates the saga of reunion with mother and sister after four decades in his book – The Last Orange
Never in my wildest dream, thought that I would find my long lost family members after 40 years. As we say it in USA finding a needle in a hay stack. India among all countries in the world where missing children or family members are so frequent; many are never found. Unfortunately, happy ending is not so common for those in India as it was for me.
I am Kisan Upadhaya who was abandoned by my own family nearly 42 years back in Guwahati, Assam. I was only 4 at the time while my elder sister was 8 years old. Our mother ran away without a trace one morning after asking me go into the kitchen and eat an only remaining orange in the house. I was instructed not to come out until I was done eating. Excited I went into the kitchen and not knowing what would be my last ever orange I received from my mother that day. Memories so clear from that tragic morning which still remains engraved in my head. This bitter memory of the past also let me to title my recently published book “The Last Orange” which is now in print in USA and Assam, India in Assamese language.The very same book will soon be available throughout India in English language as well.
God never promised anyone that life would be fair and easy. We all face challenges in our lives unknown to us but at the end of the tunnel, there is always a shining bright waiting for those who strive to peruse the dim and dark path of life. No matter how rich or poor you may be, struggle and trouble will never leave you. Money does not always find happiness in life nor does poverty. We are all equal in the sight of God. Still the rich and famous think they can walk on the waters while poor are left restless among the elite.
I and my elder sister find ourselves among the millions of unfortunate streets kids of Asia on a limbo not knowing what tomorrow might hold for us.Father worked at the border petrol away from Guwahati who was not too keen about the wellbeing of his own kids either.Suddenly, aunt shows up from Nepal for unknown reason as our father handed us over to her to take care.
We are taken to Nepal by our aunt who also does not have any mercy on us either. We stay at her home in Nepaljung, in the western village in Nepal for few months. After some time, we are taken to Kathmandu, Nepal and where we were left with strangers at Dhārmasalaby the river. No mama’s kisses, no daddy’s smile, nobody wanted us, thus we were no body’s child at that moment. Days went by, there was nothing to eat. I begged at many small tea stalls for job and finally one tea stall gave me dish washing job. Job was not east for little boy where I got beat up, spat at and kicked but at least earned few rupees and got something to eat. My sister on the other hand found herself working as maid and making flower garlands at the temple nearby and selling to devotees to earn few rupees herself for survival.
As I became ill from bitter cold and was not able to work; I told to leave. Once again I find myself walking every corner of the streets looking for something to eat. I was getting weak as my sister tried to do her best to take care of me. I would lay motionless for hours just sleeping from being so weak. My sister would come and poke me to see if I was still alive or dead. She became my mother, my father, my sister and my mentor. What can an 8 year old sis do for her dying brother? Whatever she could do, she did so that I would live. Finally the lady we stayed at Dhārmasala and my sister managed to take me to a mission hospital where I was taken in for help. Once in the hospital my sister came to visit me but still there was no sign of mother, father or our aunt. The staff at the hospital contacted a children’s home in Kathmandu. I was taken to this home where my education began right away. Once I ended up at this home, my sister did not know that I had left as she came to the hospital looking for me. I was the only one as far as family that she knew at the time and it was very traumatic for her knowing I was not there. She kept asking and finally someone told her that where I was taken and she managed to come visit me few days later.
My schooling began and I was now enlisted among the elites. I had many friends and family who loved me and cared for me. I found refuge there. My sister came few times to visit but all of a sudden she came and asked me to go with her because she wanted to go back home where mom and dad lived. I choose not to leave since I was happy where I was but she left and we said our good bye to each other. After that last hug and good bye, I never saw her again. I thought of her all the time and hoped and prayed that one day soon she would find our parentsand they would to come find me. But my imagination was grim and it never became reality. As I grew up and became smart and made many friends who know of me and my life journey wanted to help me find my sister. I searched specifically for my sister only. As I got older and was in college, I keep searching and searching but no luck.
God works mysteriously in each and everyone’s life which we seldom think about it. It is and it was God ultimate plan in my life for the things to happen the way it did. As I was attending Trivhuban University and was still staying at Children’s home, God sent missionary to that home that was caring enough to sponsor me to come to USA and further my education. I end up in USA and continue my education. After my college in USA was over I get a decent job as computer tech at that time and lived on my own. Later married and have a wonderful family. I have two beautiful kids, my son Kevin who now is 15 years old and our daughter 10 year old. As I became successful in USA, I talked to my American wife and we talked about helping another orphan kid. So that is how we got our beautiful daughter Kaitlyn from children’s home from Nepal with us now.
Even as my career began and now I have my own kids and family in USA, there was a void in my life. That void was my missing sister. She was always in my mind and could never forget her. I prayed to God that before I did, I wanted to find her. As I became computer expert and network engineer at a major University in my town of North Carolina, USA, I used internet to search for my father and his whereabouts but no positive result. I did manage to find someone in Guwahati police force that was retired man with similar name to my father and wrote him a letter but received a very negative hate mail back from this person. I even attempted many trips to Nepal and decided to search myself but ran into many problems was not successful either. Believe me readers; everything happens in God’s own timing and not ours. Failure after failure and not being successful but I was not going to give up the search until I found my sister. Finding my Dad’s work history in Guwahati Assam would reveal my mother’s whereabouts also, if I found my mother, then I might be able to find my sister. At least that was my logic. I did not care to find anyone else except my sister. It would be nice to find mom and dad who rejected us in first place. My sister was the one who cared for me, thus my sister was main person I was searching for.
Many friends and strangers were willing to provide helping hand and went out of their ways to help me find my family. Diwakar Prasai my childhood friend was the first one to help me do whatever he could and was there throughout this entire search process. Through whom I met another stranger who was a very helpful and has done tremendous job with my search process and has made some amazing efforts in this search process for my family. His name is Deepak Wagle from Nepal who is the principle of a well-known school in Nepal. Through Deepak I met some super cops in Guwahati, Assam whose names are Pranabjyoti Goswami and Rajen Singh in Guwahati, police station. These extra ordinary people who were once strangers to me, now we have become good friends have done their level best to make my quest and journey to my successful finding my family a great experience. I like to give little credit to Facebook social media also because of social media; Deepak connected me with these Assamese police man who then went into action to help a stranger like me.
One officer started searching the paper trail for the clues for my father and his work history at Guwahati police force. Other officer went to media and shared my story. Little by little once my story aired on the NewsliveTV in Guwahati, people started calling and providing vital clues of my family. Slowly but quite quickly newsliveTV and other friends gathered all the information needed to get my uncle and my next door neighbor who also retired from the same police force with my father on the screen and I met for the first time while I was still in USA. My sister was then located in small Tea Estate in Tinsukia Assam by concerned but very helpful Nepalese association of Assam. I was contacted several times to appear on the live TV via Skype from USA during this entire process as I keep meeting my family members who I have not seen for over 40 years. Once I met my beloved sister live on TV from USA, I knew she is infect my sister without any question simply because when I asked her all the vital questions about us, she said and answered everything as I remembered as child.
It was now the most highly anticipated story throughout northeast India and people are glued to TV every night as to what might come out next. In a very thrilling episode comprised of emotional reunion was about to unfold. Two weeks later I flew to Guwahati along with my wife Pamela Upadhaya to meet my sister and mom along with many others. There were tears of joys from all viewers in entire north east India watching the world first ever televised dramatic and emotional reunion take place.
We cried and hugged and embraced each other for what it seems like eternity although it was short lived at the time. Needless to say that it was one of the most joyous moments of my life.
All of these events of life were amazing and I was grateful how God answered my prayer after 40 years. I thank God first of all for his kindness and mercy He has bestowed upon me. But why did I really want to share this story with the world, why did I want to publish a book about it? Once I found out how my sister lived aharrowing life and tragedy she has endured as a pre-teen female in Asia, I had to put it in words. I was shocked to find out that she spends over 9 years as child slave, abused by many, even in her own aunt’s house. She tried to commute suicide twice because of physical, mental abuse she endured during these time after being separated from me. I wanted to write this book in dedication of my brave sister Maya Devi Upadhaya to honor her for her courage to stand her grounds.
That was the main reason for me wanting to write this amazing book based on true story.
Another reason I wanted to write this book was the fact that even though, I and my sister have gone through turmoil and tragic situation as kids, the story is very motivational and Inspirational. I hope to inspire others from this book as well. The book details how mother spend her 40+ years without her kids selfishly never coming to look for them and it details how dad also did the same thing never once looking for his first born kids as he remarries and has three other kids from second marriage. The book goes into very tragic yet very detailed incidents that took place in my elder sister’s life before and after marriage. Yes she survived and is standing very strong. I am very proud of you my beloved big sister Maya. The book is titled “The Last Orange” it is already published in USA and available via amazon.com and many other web site including Indian site called flipkart.com. It is also out in Assamese language and soon it will be released India wide in English language also.
(Written by Kisan Upadhaya in dedication to his beloved sister Maya Devi).