Amid agonizing tales of 24 migrant workers getting killed and 36 injured in a road accident near Auraiya on Saturday, the safe return of a nine-member family on a tricycle cart from Delhi to Mahoba near here has brought some solace.
Ramcharan and his family reached their village Bara in Mahoba district of Uttar Pradesh on Friday on a tricycle cart, pedaling it for nearly 600 kms over a week.
Thirty six-year-old Ramcharan, his wife, younger brother, sister-in-law and five children had gone to Delhi around seven months ago for working there as daily wagers.
Narrating his tales of trials and tribulations amid the coronavirus-led lockdown, Ramcharan said, "For some days, we survived on ration bought on credit but the shopkeeper soon stopped the credit. This led to the children sleeping on empty stomachs for three days.
Left with no options, Ramcharan said, he sold silver anklets and some other jewelries of his wife and sister-in-law (brother's wife) and bought an old tricycle cart.
All the household items were loaded on it and the family set off for home from Delhi at 3 am on May 9 with kids boarding it and other family members trudging along.
"I and my brother took turns to pedal the cart reached my village here on the seventh day (Friday)," said Ramcharan.
Recalling the long, arduous journey, which he and his family undertook, Ramcharan said, "In the course of 600-kilometre journey, we met both 'insaan' (humane people) and 'shaitaans' (heartless and wicked ones).
"Some took pity on children and gave them biscuits, while some policemen mocked at us and humiliated us for undertaking the journey back home amid the lockdown. What could have we done? We had to reach home anyhow," he said.
"Now that we are back, we will stay here and never venture out to any other place even in dreams," he added with a sigh of relief.
In seven days since buying it, Ramcharan has developed an affinity with his tricycle cart.
"This seven-day-old cart is everything for me and my family. Without it, my family would not have been able to reach back home. I am going to treasure it forever," he said.
After the thermal screening by health officials, the nine-member family is in home quarantine, and the villagers are admiring his courage and determination.