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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Missing boy back to a shattered family

That search culminated on Monday when Michael, now 20, walked up to Edward’s soiled mattress at the Delhi cantonment bus station and introduced himself as his long-lost son.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2019 10:03 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
A driver with a private company in Vasant Kunj at the time, Edward had suffered the bereavement of his wife, who worked as a domestic help, in 2005.
A driver with a private company in Vasant Kunj at the time, Edward had suffered the bereavement of his wife, who worked as a domestic help, in 2005.(HT photo)
         

Michael was six when he went missing from Jharera village in Delhi cantonment in 2006.

For the next 13 years, his family scoured city streets for the boy in a hunt that devastated the family.

His father Edward lost his job and home and was forced to live on a bus station after losing his only son and being unable to provide for his daughter.

That search culminated on Monday when Michael, now 20, walked up to Edward’s soiled mattress at the Delhi cantonment bus station and introduced himself as his long-lost son.

“My father kept on weeping all the while we were together,” said MIchael, sharing how they shared scraps of memories about their times together, his childhood and missing his mother – who died of brain tumour a year before he went missing.

Ankur Kumar Sinha, an officer of the child care institute that helped Michael reunite with his father, said Edward took 15 minutes to be convinced of the reunion as Michael had grown tall and did not resemble his childhood self.

But when Michael started telling him about the mother’s death and memories of his childhood, his father came to believe him. “I couldn’t believe my eyes though my son was in front of me,” said Edward, tears rolling down his cheeks.

Days after Michael disappeared in 2006, Gurugram police found him at a bus station, but unable to furnish details of his family, he was produced before a child welfare committee and then sent to a shelter home. Edward said he did not remember the exact day Michael went missing, but added will never forget the desperation when his son did not return from the local market that day.

A driver with a private company in Vasant Kunj at the time, Edward had suffered the bereavement of his wife, who worked as a domestic help, in 2005. “I had to vacate the house within two months and took up a room on rent close by. I quit my job to look after my children and without any savings, we starting surviving on community lunches,” he said.

Edward and his daughter spent days at local bus stands and railway stations, scouring for clues, after registering a missing persons complaint at the police station, but could not trace Michael. The search left the family desperately poor, and Edward was forced to send his daughter to a child care institute as he could not afford to take care of her.

“My world was shattered…I had no scope to recover, one tragedy after another,” said Edward. His daughter is currently studying at another child care institute in Gurugram.

“This will be after 13 years that she will tie a rakhi to Michael. She has been praying for his wellness, safety and prosperity,” he said.

Michael is now enrolled in class 10 at a private school. He said he wanted to move in with his father, but that Edward insisted that he stay at the institute and focus on his studies.

“I am extremely happy to have found Michael but I am in a poor physical and financial condition. My son is reunited with me when I can’t even afford to buy some sweets,” said Edward, adding that he will now visit his son on weekends.

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 10:03 IST

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