Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Some light in the dark amid the Coronavirus pandemic! When a Punjab policeman posted a TikTok video of a poor labourer to raise awareness about helping migrant workers during the lockdown in India, he did not expect what could happen next. The clip helped the man reunite with his family after two years, can you imagine?
It was only in 2018, when Venkateshwarlu, who is unable to speak or hear, had ended up in the city of Ludhiana, hundreds of kilometres away from his native state of Telangana.
Just a few weeks ago constable Ajaib Singh shared a video of his interaction with R Venkateshwarlu on the video streaming platform.
The clip shot under a flyover shows Singh asking Venkateshwarlu how long it has been since he has eaten and offering him food, to which Venkateshwarlu replies with gestures, signalling to the policeman about his disabilities and thanking him.
The video has gone viral with over 12.4 million views in a very short time.
It was only when he was recognised in the video shared by a Punjab police head constable in Ludhiana that Venkateshwarlu’s son, R Peddiraju, "burst into tears when [he] first saw him".
He explained that in 2018, his father, a labourer, had boarded a truck to another village to find work. However, he fell asleep and was dropped off in the middle of the road by the truck driver. Having difficulties with communication, he asked another truck driver for a lift and ended up in Ludhiana.
Peddiraju made his way on May 22 to pick up Venkateshwarlu after getting a special permit to travel during the ongoing nationwide Coronavirus lockdown.
On May 26, the two returned to their village. "The first thing we will do now is feeding him with homemade hot rice," his son said.
According to videos on Singh's TikTok account, the policeman regularly posts videos of helping migrant workers amidst the lockdown. In the clips, he is often seen distributing food to the poor.
The power of social media became real when a friend of the missing man identified him and informed his family, who had been reportedly looking for him for two years. The man’s relatives contacted the local police who helped them get in touch with him.
What positive news within these difficult times. Indeed, if used properly, social media can really become amazing tools that make upbeat news to become real.