A father braves Darjeeling’s bandh constraints to meet ailing daughter
It was one week ago that 45-year-old Ram Naresh Sharma received a call from his home in Samastipur, Bihar. Sharma’s two-year-old daughter was running high fever and his wife urged him to return home from Darjeeling where he works. Pramod Giri reports.india Updated: Aug 10, 2013 15:57 IST
It was one week ago that 45-year-old Ram Naresh Sharma received a call from his home in Samastipur, Bihar. Sharma’s two-year-old daughter was running high fever and his wife urged him to return home from Darjeeling where he works.
Caught in the midst of a bandh to press for separate statehood for Gorkhaland, Sharma decided to wait for a day or two by when he expected the bandh to get over. With shops and establishments closed and transport off roads, he was not sure how he could travel.
After the bandh entered its seventh day on Friday and the situation refused to change, he had no option but to walk with his son, 22-year-old Lalan Kumar, till Sukna, a distance of 70 kilometres. From Sukna they could catch an auto to Siliguri and then take a Bihar-bound bus.
Tired, hungry and weak, the father-son duo had walked over 60 km and could not gather the courage to walk the last few kilometers. Lallan’s feet were swollen and bloodied from all the walking and they could not get any food due to the bandh.
However, even in such a situation, Sharma was carrying a white bag containing his two pet mice and a few rotis to feed them. “There is no one to give food to my pets in my absence in Darjeeling. They are like my children and I do not want to hand them over to anyone.”
There are thousands caught in Sharma and Lallan’s situation as the indefinite bandh drags on.
Upset with the hardship, Lallan, a Class 10 pass-out who also works as a carpenter with his father, has sworn not to return to Darjeeling. “I would find some odd job in Bihar rather than face frequent bandhs in Darjeeling,” he said. Walking since 3 in the morning without food and water, the duo had managed to cover 60 km in about 12 hours.
Sharma, living in Darjeeling since last 16 years, was more philosophical. “My daughter is suffering from high fever and is admitted to a hospital in Samastipur. I must reach home at any cost. I hope to forget all this pain once I reach home and see my daughter getting well,” he said.