The story of Luv Kush, who found his family after 10 years, can give hope to the hundreds of parents whose missing children have not been traced.
Life changed for Luv Kush, the name he got at the New Delhi Railway Station, when an Allahabad child helpline told him last week it had traced his family in a remote village in Allahabad district.
His first reaction was a desire to meet his mother. “I don’t remember how they look now. I only remember faint images of my parents and an incident when my mother struck my foot by mistake,” he said, pointing at the scar.
Every year, the National Human Rights Commission survey says, about 45,000 children go missing, of which about 15,000 are not traced. This is mainly because of the weak child restoration system in India, said an NHRC official.
Although Luv Kush does not remember the exact year he went missing, he details the enormous trauma he has undergone. “I mistakenly took a wrong train from my aunt’s house and landed in Benaras. After staying at the railway station there for a couple of days, I took another train that brought me to the New Delhi Railway Station,” Luv Kush, now 18, recalled.
He wanted to go back home but help was not forthcoming. “I told people about my father’s and mother’s name and my village name but was not able to recall the railway station near my home. Nobody believed me and after some time I thought that I will never reach home,” he said.
Slowly, this thought percolated and his childhood memories faded. He found new life with about 20 other street children at the station and used to pick rags to feed himself. This went on for many years till Vijay, a volunteer of NGO Khushi, spotted him and enrolled him in the evening classes run by the NGO. “We asked him about his village but it appears he had forgotten almost everything,” said S. Geeta, for whom Luv Kush now works.
His fortune took another turn when he met a woman in Sangam Vihar, south Delhi, where the NGO runs an after-school learning centre. “When I told her about my village, she told me my parents still live there,” he said. It was then the Allahabad child helpline was contacted and his family was traced.
The long period has taken its toll on Luv Kush. He has no clue about his two younger brothers and three sisters. He can’t speak and understand a word of Bhojpuri, the native language in his village. “I will go there and try to learn everything once again,” he said.
Back home, his parents had never lost hope about his return. “They regularly asked the police about him,” Geeta said. Their wait will end soon. Luv Kush will meet his family in a couple of days. “We are working on the logistics,” she said.