Prem Kumar with family
Prem Kumar’s journey from Gurgaon, where he works as a mason at construction sites, to his home in a village in Tikamgarh district, Madhya Pradesh, has been a harrowing one. After the site he was working at shut down on March 21 and with the city on lockdown, Kumar, 32, had no other option but to find a way back to Tikamgarh with his wife and four daughters. Kumar has two more daughters who live with his parents in the village.
With Rs 2,000, a part of his wages (the rest is promised to him on his return to work), and a small loan from his landlord in Gurgaon, Kumar set out on foot on March 26 with his wife, daughters and brother. They walked about 20 km before some police personnel helped them flag down a truck that dropped them till Kosi Kalan, Uttar Pradesh.
Another truck took them till Mathura, from there a bus helped them reach the Madhya Pradesh border and finally a truck dropped him to his village on March 28.
All in all, Kumar spent about Rs 5,000 on this journey. We met all sorts of people, some charged us a lot of money to ferry us between two small towns, but there were many who gave us food and a place to sleep, says Kumar. I will return to Gurgaon when my contractor asks me to. Till then, I will help my father work on his land in the village.