12-year-old spends 50 days in Delhi park before strangers help reunite him with parents

Vishal had lost all hope of finding his family

12-year-old spends 50 days in Delhi park before strangers help reunite him with parents

Twelve-year-old Vishal with his mother

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 27 

Twelve-year-old Vishal had lost all hope of finding his family until strangers from across states came together to get him home.

The child had spent over 50 days of the COVID-19 lockdown at a local park in Dwarka until he was reunited with his parents two days ago.

The journey of Vishal’s rehabilitation started a while back when a visitor to the park spotted him in the company of stray dogs she had come to feed.

From then on until two days ago, when Vishal got home, Yogita, a Dwarka local, took charge of caring for the child. With friends from across Delhi, she arranged the boy’s meals for days and kept a daily watch on his health to check for COVID-19 symptoms.

Speaking to The Tribune about how human bonding triumphed in times of tragedy, Sneha, one of the people who helped Vishal, said, “By the time we spotted him, Vishal had become too frail. He told us that his parents live in Delhi but had left him at a relatives’ house before the lockdown to travel to their native village in Bihar’s Samastipur for some work. The relative, he said, refused to keep him which was how he landed in a park. Vishal knew nothing about his parents except that they had gone to Samastipur.”

A human chain ensued soon after Sneha shared the boy’s antecedents across social media spaces, catching the eye of a volunteer COVID-19 related organisation run by serving IPS officers.

Arun Bothra, the founder of India Cares, which eventually got Vishal home, says digital communication if put to the right use can work magic as it did in the child’s case.

Together with his IPS friend Sanjay Kumar, currently serving as IG, Sashastra Seema Bal, Bihar sector, Bothra traced Vishal’s parents, arranged for their train journey to Delhi and ferried them to the Dwarka park where their son had spent close to two months of his life in the company of strays.

“We had no idea our son had fallen on such bad days. We had gone to Bihar for four days but could not return due to the lockdown. It’s a miracle that Vishal has survived such tough times and we have finally managed to see our son,” says Vishal’s father Santosh Pathak, who was working as a security guard before the lockdown.

The job is long gone but Pathak is thrilled to have his son back. Vishal is happy too now that he is home so is the stray, his friend from the Dwarka park.

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