Where is Anu Solanki? [Updated]

Where is Anu.jpg 12.28.07: For those of you who do not read comments and may not know this– there is evidence which indicates that Anu is alive:

Authorities from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department announced they believe Solanki has left the Chicago area with a friend of hers, and that she has gone willingly. [oh, snap]

Developing…


I know we’re still shocked about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but there’s a story about another South Asian woman which deserves attention, in case any of you can help.

We’ve received several tips about a young woman who currently lives in Chicago, who has disappeared under what I think are extra-tragic circumstances. Anu Solanki is 24 years old and a newlywed from Virginia. The last time she was seen was when she was leaving her job at a hotel gift shop, on Monday, the 24th. A few miles from there…

Her car — which was still running with its doors unlocked– was found in a forest preserve parking lot late Monday afternoon.
Forest preserve police used divers to search the river in the Wheeling Forest Preserve on Wednesday, but said they would stay inside the boats on Thursday. [abc7chicago]

This is what makes my heart ache, why I wrote that this story had an extra element of tragedy:

Solanki’s husband said his wife may have gone to the river to place a broken statue of the Hindu deity Ganesh in the water, as they were told to do by a priest, to prevent bad luck. Authorities fear the woman slipped while placing the statue in the current. [abc7chicago]
“There is some concern at this point that this is a rapid current of the Des Plaines River, that it may be wise to check even further,” said Cook County Forest Preserve District spokesman Steve Mayberry. “Miss Solanki is a petite woman, and in fact, the current may have carried her further than initially believed.” [WBBM780]

Who among us hasn’t tried to do the “right” thing, on the advice of someone we trust, even if it seems superstitious? I’m just haunted by the mental picture I have of this girl earnestly, gingerly transporting this broken-but-sacred statue, on her way to the river.

While her slipping and falling while trying to do something respectful is awful enough, there’s the possibility of worse:

Police are checking the validity of a report that Solanki called a relative and said she was being watched, but then called back minutes later to say she was fine. [abc7chicago]

That report says she called a relative, this says she called a friend:

Dignesh Solanki says his wife spoke with a friend by cell phone that afternoon, telling her she was being followed by four men, then called back to say the men had disappeared. [WBBM780]

I hope she will be found soon. Chicago mutineers Neeraj and M, thank you for keeping us posted about this.

330 thoughts on “Where is Anu Solanki? [Updated]

  1. Hey, maybe she should have just lied that her father died in Iraq to get Hannah Montana tickets. She has the maturity of one of those fans. And she would not have cost the taxpayers any money.

  2. I agree..it is time to let this family work out their own problems and stop speculating on what happened. She is safe and to me, that is all that truly matters. I am sure everyone here has made their own mistakes in this life. Let him or her without any faults, and who has made NO mistakes be the judge of this young lady. I know I would not want to judge her, as I have made my share of errors! Her lack of judgment was just more widely publizised. Leave her alone, and go on with your lives. Give them some time to sort this out without the scrutiny of the press!

  3. I know I would not want to judge her,

    But if a guy did the same thing, you’d be judge judy squared. right?

  4. I am sure everyone here has made their own mistakes in this life. Let him or her without any faults, and who has made NO mistakes be the judge of this young lady.

    Cook County is not a poor area, so I don’t think the $250K made a huge dent in the local budget, but I’ve certainly never made a $250K mistake (college was a cool $130K, if you count that). People termed as innocent who incur large fiscal and emotional debts should be held accountable–simply being naive in thinking that nobody will miss you or misconstrue your pattern of known actions is really no excuse.

  5. Give them some time to sort this out without the scrutiny of the press!

    as popular as some blogs are, alice, this is still a blog and it doesn’t generate the quasi captive audiences that major print and TV media do. This is the current american reality–do something the public thinks is fairly stupid, and not involving high politics, and it will continue to make the rounds till the next Natalie Holloway shows up. It’s true that people run away from relationships all the time, but this was unique in that a great deal of resources were expended to resolve the situation and the media showed interest. Part of being an adult involves dealing with adversity and this the Solankis’ chance to show their own maturity in the face of immature MSM coverage.

  6. Radha aunty’s daughter is going out with is making will live on through the internet.

    Radha is such a funny name. Just a stroke away from Padha. May your new year be a hoot Rahul and frends. thanks for the laffs.

  7. 303 · HMF said

    I know I would not want to judge her, But if a guy did the same thing, you’d be judge judy squared. right?

    She is a woman, all her actions are justified. Did anyone see this Bill Maher’s stand up on feminism. Hilarious

  8. 304 · muralimannered said

    People…who incur large fiscal and emotional debts should be held accountable

    I think it’s useful to define “people” here, and the concept of “tribal justice” may also be useful to consider. Clearly this is a young woman (and a family) walking the line between two cultures (the American, which emphasizes individual rights and responsibilities, and the Desi, which prioritizes filial piety and acquiescence to the clan). Do we hold the individual accountable, or do we hold the whole clan (family) accountable? If the decision (to marry) was a group decision, then the fallout from that decision should be shared by the group, in my opinion.

  9. If the decision (to marry) was a group decision, then the fallout from that decision should be shared by the group, in my opinion.

    I would agree if it was a case of the husband’s family ordering a hit on Anu for whatever terrible reason, and it wasn’t actually the husband that carried it out. In my opinion, she had several options which didn’t include giving people the impression that she was dead. I know for a fact that she had been in the country since at least 2000–would you think this would be long enough for her to know, in very vague terms, that she could pursue a divorce/separation and that her family, assuming that this was a group decision, could not interfere? It might not be without familial backlash but i’m sure she could see just as much resulting from her failed elopement.

  10. I would agree if it was a case of the husband’s family ordering a hit on Anu for whatever terrible reason, and it wasn’t actually the husband that carried it out. In my opinion, she had several options which didn’t include giving people the impression that she was dead. I know for a fact that she had been in the country since at least 2000–would you think this would be long enough for her to know, in very vague terms, that she could pursue a divorce/separation and that her family, assuming that this was a group decision, could not interfere? It might not be without familial backlash but i’m sure she could see just as much resulting from her failed elopement.

    Taking into consideration the desi concept of “lajja”, or shame, and how that plays out in a familial context, I say that if (and that’s a big “if” there) indeed the marriage was a group “decision” and not an individual one, the members of the group should indeed share in the responsiblity for this whole fiasco, and should be brought to public task regarding their group approach to marriage, by the American public, via media.

    It could well serve as a lesson to all such future would-be participants in group marriage.

    More than Anu, I want to hear from her ma-bap, saas-sasural, and of course her uncles and aunties. They owe us taxpayers an explanation, damnit! Should we be forced to bear the brunt of archaic and outdated mating practices that are no longer widely practiced in our country? Don’t they have an obligation to conform to the majority?

    What a way to start the New Year!

    Shubh Varsh!

  11. Seriously, blaming this on ‘group marriage’ is inefficient. She’s the one who made a stupid decision, she’s the one who should have to pay (if anyone has to pay anything). But I actually wouldn’t be surprised if her family chipped in and paid the bill, after all desi families infantilize their children and partake of groupthink.

  12. 312 · nala said

    desi families infantilize their children and partake of groupthink.

    You are disingenuously mischaracterizing my statements and making light of many people’s reality.

    311 · $2000.000 said

    Don’t they have an obligation to conform to the majority?

    I make no such argument. I’m just pointing out that a legal system based on “individual culpability” may not be sufficient in this case.

  13. 312 · nala said

    desi families infantilize their children and partake of groupthink.

    I asked my mommy about this and she says its not true.

  14. 306 · khoof the goof said

    Radha aunty’s daughter is going out with is making will live on through the internet.
    Radha is such a funny name. Just a stroke away from Padha. May your new year be a hoot Rahul and frends. thanks for the laffs.

    Thanks, khoof. I look forward to your richly grotesque writings too!

  15. You are disingenuously mischaracterizing my statements and making light of many people’s reality.

    I apologize for that. But statements like the following:

    I make no such argument. I’m just pointing out that a legal system based on “individual culpability” may not be sufficient in this case.

    veer dangerously close to advocating separate systems of law for minorities or immigrant groups. This is where multiculturalism goes wrong. Even if she may be coming from a different cultural background (what, like other Americans don’t marry unhappily out of desperation all the time?) and got into the marriage for the wrong reasons, under the law she should be treated the same (assuming she wasn’t forced into marriage). I understand your point that sometimes there’s just a lot of pressure and all options aren’t always available, but hey, that’s the legal system.

  16. I din’t read through the comments. so pardon me if this is repetitive. It looks like she din’t actually grow up here and made the mistake of getting into a wrong marriage. I have heard about many cases of women (all born in India and grew up in India, college/schooling in India) ditching their husbands within the first few years of marriage. Actually a few of my friends suffered too, so I know some firsthand info. Either the women break up after getting engaged or ask for divorce within a few years. Women initiated the breakup in all the cases and they have studied / worked abroad for a few years. Looks like a good research topic for anyone who is interested.

  17. I din’t read through the comments. so pardon me if this is repetitive. It looks like she din’t actually grow up here and made the mistake of getting into a wrong marriage. I have heard about many cases of women (all born in India and grew up in India, college/schooling in India) ditching their husbands within the first few years of marriage. Actually a few of my friends suffered too, so I know some firsthand info. Either the women break up after getting engaged or ask for divorce within a few years. Women initiated the breakup in all the cases and they have studied / worked abroad for a few years. Looks like a good research topic for anyone who is interested.

    A sense of new found freedom wherein these young women actually start to feel (understand) they can, horror of all horrors, leave a marriage that is not fulfilling them.

    When the ex-husbands then go on to marry a second time, I wonder where they go to find a wife.

  18. 250 · Miss Marples said

    Exhibit A. is that Ash Rai chick and the goblin she married.
    That “goblin” is considered quite the catch by many women.

    Ash is a shrewd businesswoman as described by Oprah. For the lack of talent, she made no-kissing thing her selling point in Hollywood although she has done that before in Taal, Shabd etc. Abhishek is just a retirement plan for her, like 401K Remember the sexy Sridevi married Boney Kapoor just when she realised her career was ending and she had started to look like a err goblin or maybe like a suckedout mango lol

  19. Ash is a shrewd businesswoman as described by Oprah. For the lack of talent, she made no-kissing thing her selling point in Hollywood although she has done that before in Taal, Shabd etc. Abhishek is just a retirement plan for her, like 401K Remember the sexy Sridevi married Boney Kapoor just when she realised her career was ending and she had started to look like a err goblin or maybe like a suckedout mango lol

    She married for money? More status? The Bacchans and Rais are from compatible castes? Same religion? Same economic and cultural backgrounds? Is anything wrong with any of the above? Considering her origins, what exactly else is she supposed to marry for? Love? How common are strictly “prem ki shaadis” in her culture?

    She followed the cultural norms. She married for no less or no more idealistic reasons than most people in India. People need to start asking their Nanis why they married their Nanajis before they criticise celebs for marrying for exactly the same reasons!

    Look within my brothers and sisters, look within!

  20. Considering her origins, what exactly else is she supposed to marry for? Love? How common are strictly “prem ki shaadis” in her culture?

    You mean she does not love Abhishek, like she claims on TV? You are right, she does appear to be pretentious

  21. 319 · nala said

    I apologize for that. But statements like the following: a legal system based on “individual culpability” may not be sufficient in this case, veer dangerously close to advocating separate systems of law for minorities or immigrant groups. This is where multiculturalism goes wrong. Even if she may be coming from a different cultural background (what, like other Americans don’t marry unhappily out of desperation all the time?) and got into the marriage for the wrong reasons, under the law she should be treated the same (assuming she wasn’t forced into marriage). I understand your point that sometimes there’s just a lot of pressure and all options aren’t always available, but hey, that’s the legal system.

    Sorry, I should have been more specific. I don’t think anybody should be treated differently under the law. I was referring to the court of public opinion, i.e. this thread and the chorus of “sock it to her,” “throw the book at her,” etc.

  22. Sorry, I should have been more specific. I don’t think anybody should be treated differently under the law. I was referring to the court of public opinion, i.e. this thread and the chorus of “sock it to her,” “throw the book at her,” etc.

    Right, but I think the crucial thing is that she didn’t just run off; she actively mis-led people and the search for her by calling her friend and telling her there were four strange men following her. That just smacks of immaturity and it comes off malicious.

  23. You mean she does not love Abhishek, like she claims on TV? You are right, she does appear to be pretentious

    How would I know if she loves the guy or not? My original statement was that he is considered a great catch by many female fans, certainly not an ugly “goblin”.

    Even if she did not marry him because she was in love with him, the standard line in India is that you “grow to love” your arranged marriage partner. How common that is, I have no idea, but I’m supposed to believe it’s the norm, that India knows “real love” while the “west” only knows lust, hence so much divorce. That’s what I’ve been told constantly anyway. I Hope it’s true, for the sake of the people involved.

  24. this girl should be jailed and she must pay the amount government paid for her searching. She spoiled her husbands life. she looks damn freakign ugly. she sud be thankful to her husband noone will marry her