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An unknowing dad

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, February 04, 2018

FOR the past 36 years, Ajay Shaheed grew up longing for a father's love. Like any other human being, he needed that parental love which he had never experienced ever since he was born, except the motherly love he had for a few years before his mother passed away leaving her only son under a relative's care.

Growing up in a farming settlement in Ba, Ajay was born 36 years ago to an 18-year-old teenage girl who worked as a housegirl in Lautoka.

She had met and dated his biological father for a very short time while working in Lautoka. Their relationship was so short that the two of them didn't really know each other.

When she got pregnant, she panicked and without telling her boyfriend, she disappeared and never came back to Lautoka. She had Ajay in secret at her mother's place in Ba.

Ajay's mother never tried contacting his father when their son was born just to let him know of the son but raised her son alone as she probably may have heard from someone that her Lautoka boyfriend had married.

But this was not the case. Ajay's father never married and spent many years wondering what might have happened to his Lautoka girlfriend, hoping, he would meet her again one day until he fell in love with a Amina Anita Shaheed, his wife of 20 years.

Ajay's father was Mohammed Shaheed, a former national soccer player, eventually migrated to New Zealand.

Ajay's mother bought up her son alone and suffered considerable hardship because she had very little money and the support from her family helped her and her son overcome their struggles.

Unfortunately, Ajay's mother passed away when he was quite young after a long illness and it was on her death bed that she revealed to her sister, Shri, who Ajay's father was as Shri believed he had the right to know.

Still protecting Shaheed, thinking he was married with children, Ajay's mother gave the name of one of Shaheed's well-known brothers.

However, Shri did not know Shaheed's brother or the family and the brother had passed away so she had no idea how to find Ajay's dad.

In December last year, Shri and her cousin Jay visited Ba for a short break. And it was there the conversation was brought up again about who Ajay's father was.

All Shri knew were the few pieces of information her sister told her before she died.

Jay and Shri left for Lautoka early in the morning and with the help of Facebook and social media, Jay managed to find another friend who lived in Lautoka to see if she had any idea where Shaheed's sister may be living. Shaheed's sister managed to provide the contact details for her brothers who are all living in New Zealand.

When Jay returned to NZ, she rang Shaheed to find out more information about his brothers and asked him if one of them may have had a son in Ba.

After Shaheed asked how old Ajay was and about his mother, he was left speechless. He asked Jay who she was. He then said to Jay "Do you know that you, a stranger, has called and opened this huge pain in my heart" before saying, "Do I really have a son?"

He said, "Do you know how long I waited to find out about what happened to Maya?"

He said Maya was so beautiful but one day she had disappeared and he never found out where she went or what happened to her.

He then asked Jay when Ajay was born. He was very sad. He told her he was the unfortunate father that never knew he had a son, his very own child.

He then told Jay how he met Ajay's mother.

Then, he said, he needed to tell his wife Amina right away and then call Jay back for more details.

Shaheed told Jay that he and Amina had been happily married for 22 years and did not have children together and they were over the moon that they had a son somewhere even though his son was 36 years old and they have not met yet.

Amina was more excited as Shaheed could not believe it was true.

Jay and Shri arranged contacts so Shaheed and Ajay could talk and get to know each other.

Shaheed and Amina arrived into the country to meet up their only son, Ajay, an event which brought tears and joy to the family.

They also spent a week together before the couple returned to New Zealand next week, hoping Ajay will spend time with them soon.

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