Well this could well be a movie script, when two half-sisters who had spent their entire lives living apart in India and China have met for the first time – more than 70 years after their family was ripped apart by the Second World War.
An Indian woman, who even launched an appeal to find her over 7 decades lost half sister in China, was finally reunited with her after a radio channel broadcasted her story. Jennifer An, 62, and her husband travelled to China this week to find Jennifer's half-sister Roesai An, 81, who was her father's daughter from his first marriage. Roesai was left behind in Shanghai in the 1930s while her father An Chi Pong, who was a Chinese marine engineer, was forced to settle in India during Japan's invasion of China.
Jennifer and her husband Balaji, contacted the China Radio International (CRI), which has a Tamil language service, to ask if they could help. The radio channel's Tamil department found Rosei, who is alive and well, in Beijing, China.
The pair sobbed as they hugged each other for the first time ever.
According to the CRI report, Pong was onboard a ship docked in then-Bombay (now Mumbai) during the height of the war, and was unable to return to China. He ended up in Chennai, married a local and eventually raised four children with his second wife, including Jennifer. He was never able to return to China due to travel restrictions at that time.
An Chi Pong's last wish was to see Roesai, explained Jennifer's husband Balaji. "His last wish was to see his daughter, which he couldn't do," said Balaji adding, "So that was also one reason when we got married, I said you see that was your father's last wish. Let me start. I will do it. Someday we will go to China and we will make an effort and see whether we can find the lady".
Pong, who ran a Chinese restaurant in Chennai, would continue to make inquiries about Roesai until his dying day. He even received a letter from the Chinese embassy in New Delhi in the early 1980s, alerting him that Roesai had been located. However, he passed away within three weeks of receiving the letter. He held his Chinese citizenship until his death in 1982.
Jennifer and her husband travelled to China, holding out hope to find Roesai even thought over seven decades had passed since she was lost to the family. They pinned their hope on China's record-keeping system. Interestingly, even among 1.3billion people, a national government database only had two with the name An Luoxi. One was an eight-year-old girl and the other the 81-year-old An, who was living in Beijing.
Roesai is the only surviving member of An Chi Pong's first marriage.
On her heartening meeting, Jennifer said that being able to find her sister fulfilled their father's dream and that she was 'elated' at being finally being able to meet An. She said, “I told her that her father was a very special man and gave her stories about the enormous influence he had in the Chinese community in Chennai, for example making sure that they now have many rights like their own cemetery as a result of his efforts”.
Interestingly, the younger sibling had even reached out to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help her find her long-lost sister.