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‘I Will Never Leave’: Uttarakhand Man Returns Home After 24 Years Amid COVID-19 Lockdown, Family Fails to Recognise Him
Having left his home unannounced, 24 years back in search of work, Prakash Singh Karki returned to his village in Uttarakhand and reunited with his family amid COVID-19 lockdown
It was in 1995 when Prakash Singh Karki from Ramadi village of Bageshwar district in Uttarakhand, finished high school and left home without informing his family. Pursing work and landing with menial jobs first in Delhi, then in Himachal Pradesh and finally in Gujarat, Prakash returned to his village after 24 years.
Making up his mind to reunite with his family as many craved to do so amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the 43-year-old was reportedly in for a surprise as not only the villagers but also his family members failed to recognise him. Though he had remembered the address all through these long years, the family had inhibitions after having searched for him desperately and then losing hope of ever seeing him again.
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Speaking to Hindustan Times, Prakash’s mother, Bachuli Devi, shared, “In 1995, he had left without saying anything to us. His father and I searched him a lot but to no avail after which I lost all hope to ever see him again. But I guess, God is great as I am now with my son as he himself came back. Now he will not go anywhere and stay here with me only.”
Currently at the village quarantine center, under the mandatory 14-day quarantine, Prakash revealed, “After passing high-school in 1995, I decided to leave home for work. However, I did that without informing my parents and siblings which must have hurt them for which I think there is no forgiveness for me.”
Narrating his journey after dropping work in Delhi, Prakash said, “I went to Himachal Pradesh where I learnt gardening before going to Gujarat which was my last stop and where I was working as an electrician.” As family’s craved reunion amid lockdown, Prakash was no different and on receiving a pass, he set off for home. He said, “However, I was not sure whether or not I would be able to find my family there. I just got a pass and arrived here and with God’s grace, I found them and reunited with them after 24 years. I am very happy to see my mother. All this while, I missed my parents and brothers a lot. Now when I have returned, I won’t leave again and stay here only.”
Prakash returned on May 18 and the village head Ganesh Kumar informed the news agency that Prakash had applied for work under MGNREGA in the village. He also gushed, “We failed to recognise him initially but when he named his family members, we were shocked as the boy who had left home had returned as a man, all thanks to the lockdown. When his mother recognised him, it was confirmed that it was Karki who had returned. Karki couldn’t meet his father because he is not alive any more. He, however, spoke to his two brothers, one elder and another younger to him. They also accepted him after getting assured that it is him only.”