It’s a spectacle of sorts at the house of Arjun Parida. People from nearby villages are descending in droves at the house of Parida in Nuapada village on the banks of river Kharasrota under Aul police limits in Kendrapara district to have a glimpse of Arjun, who returned home last Tuesday after missing for 35 long years. The entire village is euphoric on finding Arjun.
Arjun had gone missing 35 years back in Bokaro, then in Bihar and now in Jharkhand. After searching for him frantically, his family members had given up completely on him, assuming him to be dead.
Twelve years after Arjun went missing, his wife Sabitri reconciled to her fate and accepted widowhood as per custom.
She had to re-marry Arjun in Puri as per the provisions of Hindu religion after her husband’s homecoming last Tuesday.
Arjun says he had gone to fetch his nephew Niranjan, son of his elder brother Kusasan, from Bokaro for his marriage in 1977. After staying in Bokaro for a few days, he and his elder brother’s brother-in-law boarded a train for Odisha. At Bankura station on his way back home, he had to jump from the train to save his life after some miscreants smeared his head with some oil and attempted to attack him with a bhujali. While running desperately for his life, he was caught by the police.
The miscreants alleged before the police that he had attacked them and they had snatched the bhujali from him. Unable to speak any language other than Odia, Arjun got trapped and landed in jail. He was shifted to a mental asylum after he developed symptoms of mental illness.
Sabitri’s daughter was just two months old when Arjun disappeared in 1977,
Only a few days back, a Bengali gentleman Kazi Dada came to Arjun’s house in Nuapada with the message that Arjun was alive and was staying at a mental asylum in Murshidabad.
Sabitri, her brother and her daughter Anjali accompanied Kazi Dada to Murshidabad to get Arjun back home.
Arjun, who was a young man of 28 when he went missing, is now an old man of 63.
He now has plenty of stories to tell his grandchildren, born to his daughter Anjali.