A video that went viral and a social worker’s efforts have reunited a mentally deficient youth with his family on the eve of Eid, making it a doubly joyous occasion for his worried kin.
The 25-year-old in question had gone missing two months ago, and was spotted by chance by Pimpri-Chinchwad resident Yogesh Malkhare two weeks ago, walking on the side of a road in Aurangabad. Guessing that something was not right with this youth, the Smile Plus Social Foundation founder followed him for around six kilometres and then approached him. He made a video of his encounter with the man, which he put online — to his surprise, it was not just shared some 46,000 times, but also helped track the individual’s family down to Buldhana district.
Malkhare had met the youth on June 3 in Aurangabad, where he had gone for some work. As he was looking very lost, the activist approached him, and shared with Mirror, “When I asked him some simple questions about himself, he remembered only his name,” Malkhare asked a few people in the area if they knew his whereabouts, but no one did. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he bought the man some new clothes, gave him a bath and got him to Pune. The next day, as is the process, Malkhare got a court order and the young man was admitted to the mental institution in Yerwada.
Meanwhile, his video was gaining a lot of traction online. The day after admitting the youth, Malkhare got a call from someone who had recognised the 25-year-old as a resident of his neighbouring village. Soon, his family was contacted.
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Finally, on June 14, the youth’s labourer father came down to take him home for Eid. He narrated that his son had simply left home one evening in April and didn’t return, leaving his family devastated. “I would work for four days and spend all that money looking for my son for the next three days. The fact that he has come home for Eid is a blessing to us for never giving up,” said his father.
The family had been made aware of his condition a decade ago, when he was still a child. For the last six years, things had gotten out of hand, and they had been doing their best to get him admitted in recent times to a mental institution. However, lack of cooperation from the authorities and laborious paper work had demotivated them enough to give up. Instead, sadly, the youth was mostly kept confined at home. “It was stressful and eventually got impossible to get our son admitted, as no authority was willing to cooperate. Now that it is done, we could not be more grateful. We know this will only benefit our son and the whole family, who never liked to see him struggle this way,” the father added.