A girl reported missing almost forty years ago has been miraculously found after living in the jungle in India, it has been claimed.
Ng Chhaidy, now 42, was just four when she went missing from her little village of around 150 houses, in Saiha, the southern-most district of Mizoram, bordering Myanmar.
Villagers had heard talk of a jungle girl for decades but dismissed it as gossip, never considering that it could be the missing villager.
Reunited at last: Chhaidy (left) with her mother, after she went missing in the jungle 38 years ago whilst playing with her cousin
But now Chhaidy has been found in neighbouring Myanmar after being found living naked in a cemetery, and was finally reunited with her father Ng Khaila, 62, and her mother Ng Ngola, 58, who thought they would never see their daughter again.
'We had given up all hope of ever seeing her alive,' said Chhaidy's father Khaila.
Chhaidy and her cousin Beirakhu were out playing in the jungle's fields and trees next to their village when the pair first went missing in 1974.
Local communities joined forces in a bid to find the youngsters.
A day after the children went missing there was heavy rainstorm and many assumed a couple of four-year-olds would never survive. But when Beirakhu was found beside a stream, in a poor state but alive, hope resurfaced that they could find the still missing Chhaidy.
After Beirakhu recovered he spoke of a woman who found and helped them. She lived in the forest and gave them shelter and food. But when the villagers took the boy back, there was no sign of any woman, house or Chhaidy.
Welcomed with open arms: Her family refused to give up the search for her, and say she recognises them and calls them mother and father
Other villagers suspected ghosts took the girl, as they believed the forest was haunted.
The family searched the entire forest for months but there was no trace of Chhaidy.
Khaila, who works as a farmer, said: 'I'd often go back there to the jungle, but this woman would never be around and I'd find nothing.'
Years passed and her family refused to give up. They often heard of a jungle girl roaming the forests, often wondering if it's Chhaidy but never setting their eyes on her.
Khaila said: 'We heard people talking of a naked woman with long hair and nails living in the forest, sometimes on the Myanmar side of the border, often attacking people who tried to find her, but we never did.'
But in July this year, a Myanmar resident visited one of her relatives in Saiha village. Khaila joined them for dinner one night and the truth behind the wild forest girl unfolded.
Rumours of a jungle woman were dismissed by Chhaidy's fellow villagers, until they realised it was her
'The visiting woman told me I resembled a woman she had adopted four years ago,' Khaila added.
'They had found her living in their village cemetery almost naked and half dead and they rescued her. I instantly thought of my daughter and told the woman of my loss. She said it could be her. Then I decided to visit the girl now a woman just in case.'
Khaila sold some household items to pay for the trip, and left a few days later.
He said: 'At first I didn't recognise her. But I noticed the birthmarks on her face and the piercings. She was also left-handed. I was sure it was my daughter.'
But the girl didn't remember anything from her past. Khaila, along with her adoptive parents, tried to rekindle her memory but failed.
'Then, the following evening, Chhaidy just walked up to me and hugged me from behind and called me Ippa, father in local Mara language. I couldn't believe it. I was so happy.'
The family, with the help of local officials who authorized everything, finally managed to take Chhaidy back to India, her home, last month.
Since then she has received no medical or psychological attention. And she spends her days moving from neighbour to neighbour, playing with anyone, young or old.
Chhaidy can only speak a few words, but she's already learnt the words for mother and father, which is Inna and Ippa.
She keeps her gifts from her neighbours by a window - a bottle of metallic green nail polish, a plastic comb, tubes of moisturiser and lipstick.
When she wakes up every morning she scrubs her face with cream, paints her nails and combs her long hair, which she has taken to tying with a hair band.
Chhaidy is beginning to learn new words and her parents are re-introducing her to village ways
Surprisingly, for someone believed to have lived in a forest away from human habitation for 40 years, Chhaidy is not shy of human interaction, although she is very childlike.
'She is learning new words and skills every day and she helps her mother in the kitchen and with other house-hold tasks,' says Khaila.
'She loves to roam around the village, playing with children and jumping and dancing in the market. And she finally eats cooked food. She's adapting back to the real world slowly but surely. It's lovely to see her so happy.'
Superintendent R K Singh, of Saiha police, in Mizoram, said: 'The girl went missing aged four and miraculously returned home after 38 years.
'The family never approached the police for help to trace her back then. It was only after, when the family heard of her presence in Myanmar this year, that they approached us for assistance. We helped her settle back in India.'
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