Imphal: A Manipuri man, who went missing 40 years ago, has finally returned home, thanks to YouTube.
Khomdram Gambhir Singh on April 19 embraced and hugged his family in Imphal, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, which he left in 1978 after separating from his wife.
He had an emotional reunion with his family after a YouTube video of him singing a popular Bollywood song went viral.
Family members burst into tears and garlanded Singh, 66, as he arrived in his hometown.
Photos and videos of Singh being welcomed home have touched a chord with many.
Singh had left his home in Imphal when he was just 26-years-old. A clip showed a grey-bearded man singing a Bollywood song on a Mumbai street 3,300 km west of Imphal. In the video recorded on the streets of Mumbai’s Bandra, Singh identified himself as Khomdram Singh of Manipur.
The family was notified about the video and they reached out to the police after recognizing Singh.
“He was making money as a beggar singing old Hindi songs,” photographer Firoze Shakir, who shot the video and uploaded it to YouTube on October 17, 2017, told news agency AFP. Singh had told him he was a construction worker and turned to alcohol after a couple of accidents.
The Mumbai photographer even posted a video and photos of Singh’s emotional homecoming. “I have received all his pictures and videos from his well-wishers fans they want me to be a part of an unending story called Gambhir Singh Lost and Found Ghar Wapsi,” he said on Facebook.
“This story is a ray of hope. If a video can change a man’s life there can be no bigger miracle than this,” said Shakir.
Now clean-shaven, Singh said he did odd jobs to survive in Mumbai, which is home to the prolific Bollywood film industry.
“I worked in the mills, in shops and big buildings there,” he said, refusing to explain why he never tried to contact his family since leaving as a 26-year-old.
Singh performed a small prayer before entering his modest thatched-roof house, swarmed by an army of well-wishers.
“We can’t express in words how happy we are because of this reunion,” said his younger brother Kulachandra Singh.
“In fact I had a very nice dream a day before and the next day when I woke up this person came to our house to give us the good news (about my brother).
“It’s really a dream come true for all of us,” he said.
“Two Manipur police officers who reached Bandra on April 17 to take back my elder brother Gambhir finished the office formalities on Wednesday. He will be flown home on Thursday,” Khomdram Kulachandra Singh, younger brother of Gambhir told the Times of India.
Philanthropists from various parts of the state continued to visit the family and extended financial aid to ensure Gambhir embarks on his new life happily with his family members. “With the amount donated by the philanthropists, we are thinking of replacing our thatch roof with corrugated steel sheets sometime later to wear a new look of the house,” Kulachadra said.
“We have now arranged new rooms at our old house with new amenities for my brother. We have bought new beds, clothes, utensils and other items for him. We want to see him happy all the time,” an emotional Kulachandra said.
“It’s not just his family, everybody in the locality is happy,” said Samarendra, who is also the secretary of Imphal West Students Club, said.