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On December 13, Sunday, it was a very emotional moment for a 48-year-old man and his family as they got to embrace each other after 20 long years because of a WhatsApp message that bridged the gap of shame.

Mahaveer Singh Chauhan, from Jhab village in Jalore district of Rajasthan, embraced his 24-year-old son, Pradyuman Singh, on a hospital bed (Nimhans – National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences). Pradyuman was four years old when he last saw his father and his younger brother Raghupal was just one.

image: source

In December 1998, Mahaveer suffered huge losses in business, ran to Mumbai out of shame and cut his ties with his family. While looking for him, parents lodged a complaint but everyone gave up after constantly searching for five years. For 2 decades, they remained separated. But social media turned out to be a blessing for them. And for past 20 years, he was making a living in Bangalore. He currently works as a supervisor at a rose farm in Doddaballapura. He speaks 8 languages and is well versed in Kannada and Marathi. All these years, he worked as a chauffeur, photographer, gardener, salesman as well.

Even though Mahaveer promised himself not to return to his family, but for the last 3 years, he was getting affectionate over them. On Saturday, Mahaveer was found unconscious in that farm and his friends Ravi and Kishore Kumar Daftary took him to a local hospital, where doctors suspected spinal cord injury and hence was referred to Nimhans.

While speaking to TOI, Daftary, who is a Bengaluru based photographer, said, Mahaveer was married, had two children and his father was a man of stature. But as his condition worsened, friends started looking for his family member’s presence and therefore, they circulated his photograph on WhatsApp and forwarded to multiple groups dedicated to Rajasthanis, hoping someday it would reach his parents and relatives.

Even though it was a shot in the dark, but the idea led to an unbelievable story of reunion and by evening Daftary was flooded with calls and messages inquiring about the man.

“However, it was a call from a quaint village in Rajasthan that had me smiling. Mahaveer’s son Pradyuman was at the other end and he confirmed his identity and told me he was taking the early-morning flight to Bengaluru on Sunday,” Daftary said.

An elated Pradyuman told, “It’s unbelievable. We thought we had lost him. Destiny works in mysterious ways. My mother always believed he will come back one day.”

On Sunday at 11 am, everyone’s heart skipped a beat when Pradyuman touched his father’s feet. A teary-eyed Mahaveer told his son, “I’m free of all my guilt today; take me back to the land where I belong.”