When a loved one goes missing….

Missing: 95-year-old Shankar Prasad Mishra.

My friend Preeti Mishra’s 95-year-old grandfather,  whom she lovingly calls Nanu, is missing. He went missing from Babusapalya in Kalyanagar on August 25. Nanu or Shankar Prasad Mishra, is much more than a grandparent for Preeti. He is a fellow foodie, and her companion-in-fun. He is also her rock, her safe place.

Preeti is an ardent Bangalorean, blogger and writer. I can only imagine what she and her family are going through right now. No, actually I can empathise, because it has happened to me too–when my father went missing three years ago. The worst part always is the not-knowingness, the uncertainty. Where is he, you wonder. What is he doing, is he alright? Is he unable to call for help?

Nanu, says Preeti, is healthy but prone to bouts of forgetfulness. And on her Facebook page, she has posted a description of her grandfather, he was last seen wearing a grey t-shirt, grey pants and brown pumps. She describes Nanu as articulate in Hindi, Tamil, English and Kannada.

When a loved one goes missing like this, you do everything practical and possible–file a missing person’s complaint at the local police station, put up notices and alerts across social media and, in the local dailies, seeking information and help. And you reach out to friends, acquaintances, relatives, everyone and anyone, from shopkeepers and vendors, to the local residents’ welfare associations. The point is that anyone can help. Because ultimately, Preeti and her family need eyes and ears, as they look for Nanu, as they scour the streets, the by lanes, the parks, the bus shelters–anywhere an exhausted elderly person can be found resting. 

Sometimes, Bangalore can seem a friendless city, filled with strangers, unwilling to help. Don’t let the city lose it’s heart. Please don’t be a bystander. Be a friendly face, if you see Nanu. If you have any information, call 9845801429/9845015608.

An update: As everyone probably knows by now, Nanu was found on the evening of August 31 seven days after he went missing. A young man, Sudhir, reunited Nanu with his family. Nanu is now extremely weak and under observation in a hospital.

And Sudhir’s action proved that Bangalore is a city that does care.

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