Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

My mother was adopted when she was two. Her adoption has affected all subsequent relationships in her life, especially those with her husband and children. Her parents died in the war between India and Pakistan in 1947, and her sister died acouple of years later. She was adopted by a wonderful man who was a colonel in the army, and who already had two children of his own.

My mother never knew for sure what happened to her parents, where their graves were or if she had any surviving relatives. She lived in hope that one day they’d be found alive. So it was great for her to come to England, where TV shows were dedicated to finding long-lost relatives. Maybe that’s why she’s such ahuge Cilla Black fan – her favourite show ever is Surprise Surprise.

Every month for years, my mum made my siblings and me write to Cilla to ask her to find her parents. When Cilla received mail from my seven-year-old self saying, “Dear Cilla, my mum’s parents have gone missing – last time they were seen was when they were having a war”, I’m sure she thought it was a joke.

Things reached new heights, however, when my mum discovered Jim’ll Fix It. I wrote to Jim saying, “My mum’s parents are lost, they got lost on the road from India and left my mum behind. Can you find them and bring them to Birmingham,please?”

A few weeks later I received a reply saying, “Dear Miss Mirza, we only deal with genuine requests.”