One day in 1978, Khomdram Gambhir Singh suddenly left his Imphal home without telling anyone. His family kept searching, but no results.
Recently, they received a clue from an unexpected source: YouTube.
An acquaintance showed them a video of a Manipuri man singing Hindi songs on Mumbai's roads. It was Singh.
Calls were made, police roped in, and now he's all-set to go home.
The day Singh vanished from his Manipur home
Singh, third among six siblings, had served in Manipur Rifles for seven years before he retired voluntarily, his family says.
He then came back home and helped till the farms.
But in 1978, he fell upon hard times: his wife of three months left him, and there was a fallout among the brothers.
He took to alcohol to escape, and one day, he vanished.
A YouTube video leads to an unexpected discovery
A year later, his family received information that Singh was in Mizoram, but by the time they reached there, he had already moved away.
Then there was nothing all these years, till Saturday.
That morning, Khomram Kulachandra, Singh's younger brother, was told about the video by a nephew.
The video of a Manipuri man singing Hindi songs had was a hit in the area.
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Mumbai Police announces good news on Twitter
.@AngellicAribam tweeted video of a stranded man in Bandra to @MumbaiPolice While we secured him, @SamarendraAtom tweeted identified him as Khomdram Singh from Manipur,missing since 40 yrs! Our Twitter team coordinated b/w Bandra Patsoi Pstn to reunite Mr Singh with family 😊 pic.twitter.com/9zZhOmZF3p— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) April 16, 2018
A few quick steps and tickets to Mumbai
"When I saw the video, I could not stop crying. I was very happy to know that he is alive," Kulachandra said.
They contacted Manipur police, who reached out to their Mumbai counterparts.
The rest is history: Singh's identity was established, and now Kulachandra is flying to Mumbai tomorrow to bring home his elder brother.
Locals helped in raising money for the tickets.
The one who helped reunite the family
Firoze Shakir, a "storyteller" who had posted the video on October 17, 2017, is thrilled.
He had written in the video's description, "Children teased him calling him Nepali and he would shout he was a Manipuri."
"He would come to Bandra Bazar...and regale the public with old Hindi songs."
They are now friends: "He took a liking to me as I shot his pictures."
Activist Angellica Aribam thanks Mumbai Police
Thanks @MumbaiPolice for locating the man and safeguarding him in your custody. His family will bring him back to Imphal after 40 years. Thanks everyone for your help.— Angellica Aribam (@AngellicAribam) April 15, 2018
I'm now deleting the original tweet. https://t.co/pEhDFHc7Jm