Ranchi, Feb 13: Love is hard to find and when you do, no matter what you fight for it till the end.
In today's time when love comes packaged in Valentine's Day gifts, cards, chocolates and viral videos, the story of a Jharkhand labourer who took up the arduous bicycle journey peddling through 65 villages to find his missing wife is not for the faint-hearted, but for true blue lovers.
When Manohar Nayak got the news that his mentally-unstable wife went missing while he was away from home working as a construction labourer in neighbouring Odisha in January, he wasted no time.
Manohar quit his job in Odisha immediately and went back to Jharkhand to search for his missing wife Anita Devi, whom he married 16 years ago. The couple also has a 14-year-old son.
As his wife was suffering from mental illness and Manohar had no other option but to work, he decided to leave his wife and son at Anita's paternal house in Kumrasole village.
On January 11, Anita left her house and did not return, the villagers told Manohar when he reached Kumrasole village. After filing two missing complaints at Musabani and Dumaria police stations near Kumrasole village, when Manohar did not get proper response from the cops, the poor man decided to find his wife on his own.
Thus Manohar set out on his bicycle to look for his wife. In the process, Manohar visited 65 villages in the East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand and traversed hundreds of kilometers in the hinterlands of the country.
With just a passport-sized photograph of Anita, the man riding his rusted bicycle never lost hope of finding his beloved as he inquired about her to strangers.
In order to make his search little less stressful, Manohar paid local newspapers to carry his wife's pictures in the missing person advertisement columns.
Thanks to the newspapers' pictures, recently some people identified Anita at a dhaba near Kharagpur in West Bengal and handed her over to a police station. Finally, Manohar met his wife in Kharagpur on Sunday.
"I was tired searching for her on my bicycle for the past one month but never lost hope. I am grateful to police of both the states. I now want to take her back home on my bicycle," Manohar was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.
Every day during his month-long search for Anita, Manohar travelled around 30-40 kilometers on his bicycle.
"She could not say where she came from. Some locals who rescued her identified her through photographs on local media. We contacted the Jharkhand Police, and they confirmed it was the same woman who went missing on January 11 from Musabani police station area," a senior official of the Kharagpur police station told The New Indian Express.
The story of Manohar's brave attempt to find his missing wife riding a bicycle is the stuff legends are made of.
And, for a change we found a real, hard-hitting love story (not the usual filmy, mushy ones) a day ahead of Valentine's Day on Wednesday.