Khurda: It is the kind of lost-and-found story that Bollywood revels in. But this one is a real, not reel, story – one that proves the saying “Facts are stranger than fiction’.
Prafulla Pradhan, then 41, went missing during the devastating Super Cyclone that struck Odisha in October, 1999. While others in the family had lost all hope, his father Kaibalya Pradhan continued to believe that his son would come back one day. And he did!
Seventeen years after he went missing, Prafulla returned to his native Icchapur village under Chilika block in the district a few days back.
“I thank the Almighty for returning my lost jewel. I have no words to say,” said Kaibalya, tears rolling down his cheeks.
“After I lost him (Prafulla) during the cyclone, people started telling me that he is dead. But somewhere in my mind, hope continued to flicker that he is alive. But I had not expressed this to anybody. Now that he has come back, I feel on the top of the world,” he said in a voice choking with emotion.
And for Prafulla’s wife Adaramani, the return of her husband is nothing short of a miracle.
“My prayers have not gone unheard. I am happy that my children have got their father back,” she said.
Locals say Prafulla was suffering from mental disorder and went missing from his home during 1999 cyclone. He mistakenly boarded a train from Balugaon and eventually landed in Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. On learning that Pradhan was mentally-challenged, the Tamil Nadu police admitted him to a mental hospital in Chennai. Dr Arvindham, who was treating Pradhan, came to know about his plight and helped him reunite with his family.
After coming to know that Pradhan belongs to Chilika, Dr Arvindham alerted both Puri and Khurda administration. Chilika BDO Soumendra Routroy facilitated the reunion by tracing the family of Pradhan.