Kendrapara (Odisha): A man, presumed dead by his family, has returned home almost after 18 years in Odisha`s Kendrapara.
34-year-old Sanatan Mallick of Ainipada village under Pattamundai police station jurisdiction returned home recently much to the jubilation of family members and local residents.
When Sanatan was reported missing, he was hardly 16-year-old. The Dalit boy had migrated to Paradip port township in 1994 to earn a living and worked in an eatery. But a year after, he left Paradip and remained untraceable.
"We had taken it for granted that Sanatan is no more. But his memory was haunting me. I was overjoyed to find him alive," recounted Sanatan’s mother - Chaila Mallick (65).
"Poverty had forced me to move to Paradip. My earning was meagre. I was washing utensils at a roadside eatery. I could save little to send to my poor parents. So I decided to travel to Calcutta for better earning," recalled Sanatan.
Life in Calcutta was no better. I could not get any engagement. Finally I began hawking at a railway station. Since past 16 years, I am earning my bread and butter hawking eatable items at Howrah station. I sold food and other items on platforms and in trains. I had registered myself as a hawker in Howrah, he said.
Eking out a living, Sanatan fell in love with a girl living in a slum near the railway station. The love consummated in marriage. He is blessed with a 4-year-old son. -
The marriage distracted him to go back to ancestral village, fearing parental opposition and social ostracization.
"I had made up my mind to visit my parents and siblings at
home. Their memory constantly perturbed me. But the marriage with a stranger girl without family’s consent deterred me to visit the village," he said.
"I underwent agonising moments while living separated from family. Finally I decided to return home. My joy knows no bounds getting reunited with the family. Very shortly, I would bring my wife and settle in the village. I have got exasperated with hectic railway station life," he said.
"God is gracious. The almighty has given me back my loved child. He would live here with his wife and child. I eagerly wait for the arrival of my daughter-in-law and grandson," Sanatan`s mother, Chaila said.
A missing report had been filed with the Paradip police station then. As per criminal procedure code, one is presumed dead after remaining untraceable for seven years, said Paradip Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Bhabani Shankar Mishra.