A Nepali man-friday in our building, (who has a very nice name - Chetan, but is called the ubiquitous 'Bahadur') has approached me, hoping that I, with my connections in newspapers will be able to get an insertion (read: Ad) for his missing son.
The 12 year old ran away almost 5 years ago, after an argument over watching TV! Yes. It does make you wonder at the injustice of it all. A child you've reared gets upset with you because you reprimand him for watching TV and the next thing you know is, he becomes one amongst India's lost children!!
My heart went out to him and I have vowed to help him out.
I tried all my contacts at the newspapers. They wanted to help but could not. Unfortunately, newspapers do not publish Missing Persons reports unless it comes from the Police Station. And this is a very old case so the cops have invariably lost interest.
The only option is to place an ad. I've been told by a reputed consultancy that placing an ad in the Classifieds section may be cheaper but won't have any impact. An independent ad (which will appear in the main pages and will be eye catching), for an insertion in two most popular Marathi newspapers for an all-Maharashtra publication will cost Rs 35,000 or so. Sticking to Maharashtra because logic says he may have gone to Mumbai - the likely destination for such lost souls.
I hope my friends, you will come forward to help him. Your contributions will help raise the money needed. I am starting with me - Rs 2500. Any contribution, however small, is welcome, as long as it is from your heart!
If you want to help, do send me an email and I will mail you the photograph of the lad and a copy of the FIR.
The risks: The ad may not have any impact since the boy has been missing too long. But I want to try. A last ditch effort perhaps.
And anyway, who am I to give up hope when the boy's father hasn't!