Ganpati pandal takes in ill Russian woman staying on road, family contacted

Written by Mohamed Thaver
| Mumbai |

Published: August 15, 2020 1:52:45 am

Mapnha Marina had come to India just before the lockdown was imposed in March. (Express Photo)

For Mapnha Marina, a Russian woman suffering from a neurological illness, Kherani Cha Raja, a Ganesh pandal in Saki Naka, has been godsend. It is due to the pandal’s efforts that she is set to be reunited with her family soon.

Marina (35), who had come to India just before the lockdown was imposed in March, had been sleeping on the roads in Saki Naka with injury marks on the body. When approached, she could hardly identify herself.

Those associated with the pandal took her in, administered first aid and gave her a place to sleep in their office. Eventually, the Russian Consulate got in touch with them. If all goes well, Marina should be on the first flight that leaves from Goa to Russia to be with her family.

Prashant Maurya, director of the Kherani Cha Raja pandal, located on Kherani Road in Saki Naka, said: “Many people saw the woman sleeping on the road at night. There appeared to be injury marks on her body. Besides, the fact that she was sleeping in isolated areas made us worried.”

On August 7, Maurya and three others from the pandal, including a woman, went to look for Marina. “While we couldn’t find her, local truck drivers and shopkeepers told us she had injury marks on her hands and legs… they suspected someone had been taking advantage of her,” said Maurya.

The next day, they went to to the spot again and found her. “We got her to our office. We then took the help of a friend, who is a Russian translator, and communicated with her,” Maurya said.

Among her belongings, they found a medical bill from a clinic at Nakhodka in Russia. The translator found that she was suffering from Huntington’s disease that results in the death of brain cells, resulting in general lack of coordination and an unsteady gait.

“We put up her photographs on social media platforms, as we had no clue who she was. Soon, the Russian Consulate in the city contacted us along with a Russian woman who resided in Powai,” Maurya said.

The Consulate General of Russia in Mumbai also put up Marina’s photograph on its Facebook page, stating how Kherani Cha Raja had provided her necessary assistance, including medical care. “They told us that flights from Goa to Russia should begin soon and they will fly her out. From there she can accompany a family that is going to Russia,” Maurya said. The Russian from Powai, Anastasia, meanwhile, has started a crowdfunding campaign for Marina.

“The Russian Consulate has asked us to keep her with us. So, currently she is staying in our office,” Maurya said. In the meantime, contact was established with Marina’s family in Russia, including her seven-year-old son and sister. “She talks about her son a lot. She has become comfortable with us. When the police came to take her, she said she would want to stay with us,” said Maurya.

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