Lalit Tamang and his wife Thuli Maya from Galchhi rural municipality in Dhadhing were shocked when their neighbours told them that their son, Ratna Bahadur Tamang, might have returned. It had been 22 years since his disappearance and the couple had lost all hope. The family had even conducted his funeral assuming him dead.
But, when their neighbour, Muskan Tamang, called them out to check if it was their son on the evening of December 6, 2021, both leapt at it. Barefoot, the couple ran down to Muskan’s house. When they saw their son, they were not sure if it really was their son because Ratna had changed a lot.
But, the village had also changed. “When I was here 22 years ago, things were different. There was no electricity and my house was somewhere else,” says Ratna. “That is why I asked people if I could stay the night so I could look for my parents during daylight.”
When Ratna met his parents, the environment became festive. Tears rolled out of all their eyes as the parents had finally seen their son after over two decades of disappearance.
The mysterious disappearance and magical homecoming
Ratna went missing during the civil war from Kathmandu. To figure out where he was, Lalit reached out to everyone he knew. Even though it was hard to commute during the war, he still did all he could to try and find his son. But no one knew where Ratna was.
Ratna’s elder brother Gyan Bahadur even went to the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons but returned empty-handed. On the other hand, his parents frequented the nearest post office hoping to find a letter from their son, but they too had to return disappointed.
“We even went to a shaman to see if they could give answers,” says Lalit. “But, the shaman told us that he might be dead.”
But, they were uncertain because they still had hope and whenever anyone told them he might be alive, they would feel relieved. They spent the last two decades wondering if their son was alive or dead.
After receiving no news, Lalit, after speaking to his family, decided to perform Ratna’s final rites. With a heavy heart, Lalit performed the final rights in December 2019.
But, right around two years since that day, Ratna came home.
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