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Vishal Pathak was stranded in Delhi away from his parents in Samistapur in Bihar, ever since the nationwide lockdown was imposed in the wake of COVID-19.
To make matters worse, he was thrown out by the landlord from their small rented house in Dwarka sector 1. With nowhere to go, the 12-year-old started living in a nearby park.
Nearly 45 days later, Vishal got used to living in the park along with street dogs and receiving meals from his Yogita didi residing in a nearby complex.
It was a usual morning for Vishal on 5 May except that a surprise awaited him. He was busy playing with the street dogs when Yogita called him to the entrance gate around 10am.
As soon as they reached the gate, Vishal froze for a few seconds before speeding towards his parents who stood a few steps away. Not willing to leave his mother, he cried incessantly and thanked Yogita for reuniting him with his parents after so many days.
“Vishal was brave enough to live all alone away from his parents at such a young age and in such turbulent times. His parents were also relieved to find him safe,” Yogita tells The Better India.
Yogita was one of the many stakeholders responsible for the heartwarming reunion amidst the lockdown.
How Social Media Saved The Day
Yogita, a dog lover, visited the park where Vishal lived to feed a couple of stray dogs.
She spotted Vishal at the end of April. On observing that he was always in the park despite the lockdown, Yogita confronted him.
“Vishal’s parents were away in Bihar attending a wedding and were supposed to return on 22 March but their train was cancelled. Meanwhile, Vishal had chosen to stay back as his final exams were ongoing back then,” Yogita shares.
Moved by Vishal’s plight, Yogita posted about Vishal on her Instagram account, seeking help. She also took the responsibility of providing him with meals.
For days, there was no concrete response, until Sneha, her follower, learnt about it. She immediately shared it on Twitter and tagged Senior IPS officer Arun Bothra, who is known for helping people via social media.
Bothra immediately swung into action and contacted his batchmate Sanjay Kumar, Inspector General of Sashastra Seema Bal’s Bihar sector, who in turn, alerted officers in Samatipur.
Without wasting any time, Bothra and Kumar purchased the railway tickets and SSB IG arranged transportation from Samastipur to Patna. At New Delhi railway station, a cab arranged by SSB officer took the parents to the park.
“I have always emphasised the power and wonder of social media… it can truly move mountains. Within three days, we were able to co-ordinate and arrange their travel to Delhi. It was a collective effort put in by citizens, Kumar, and the police force,” Bothra tells The Better India.
The country-wide lockdown has disrupted the transportation services, affecting many lives. However, even in such gloomy times, we are witnessing acts of kindness and humanity. Kudos to Yogita, Sneha, and the IPS officers for such a heartwarming deed.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)