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600 km to home: Daily wager reaches Amethi just in time to see his baby’s birth

NEW DELHI: There was panic in the air with talk of a pandemic, his job was probably gone as was the roof over his head, but Mukesh Maurya did not let his spirits flag as he set off from Delhi for his village, more than 600 kilometres away, determined to be home to see his baby being born.

There were no trains and few buses to get to Musafirkhana in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi district all the way from Rajouri Garden where he worked as a daily wage labourer but get there he did.

It was March 28, Saturday, when he set off for home, 650 km away.

The nationwide lockdown to curtail the spread of COVID-19 had begun after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s March 24 announcement and all roads to home it seemed were blocked.

But where there is a will there is a way, and 22-year-old Maurya, who reached home on Sunday evening, found it.

It took many hours of walking, several more hours of waiting and three gruelling, very crowded bus rides, with social distancing a random, distant thought.

“I reached just in time. My wife was having labour pains when I reached our village and we had to quickly arrange for an ambulance to take her to hospital,” Maurya, now a proud father of a baby boy, told PTI over the phone.

“I could manage to be there with my wife when my son was born,” he added, the three days of stress and the arduous journey home seemingly already a distant memory.

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