Friday, 4 May 2012

When Nayati Came Home

So we spent the whole week with this picture pasted everywhere; petrol stations, shopping centres, lamp posts with signs screaming "Kidnapped!" or "Abducted!".

Briefly, Nayati had been on his way to school in the posh Mont Kiara area. As he lived close by, he was walking as usual. It was about 7.30am, and there was traffic on both ends, just an ordinary day. Except that it wasn't. A Black Proton Gen 2 (which was later discovered to have been stolen) drew up alongside and a man got out the car and pulled the boy in. Right in front of Chubs's apartment. He said it couldn't have been at 7am as they had said earlier or he would have seen the commotion when he left for work.

Nayati's father appeared on the national news channel appealing for the return of his only son. He was willing to do anything, pay anything and not even make a police report. They just wanted the boy safe.

I have to tell you, the fate of kidnapped children in Malaysia is generally not good. The kids are usually pulled in the child porn rings and used until death. Or used and then killed. But most of these kids who had been kidnapped before had been poor. There would have been no hope of ransom money. The one thing this kid had going for him was that his father, an expatriate was well-off. So maybe, there would be a ransom demand. Anything was better than finding the boy discarded in some drain.

The thing went viral. Not just in Malaysia but all through the world. His picture appeared everywhere. A cute kid, his wistful smile touched so many hearts. People prayed, sent good vibes to the boy and the parents. Every time I got into the car I would feel a sort of twist in my heart. And I would say, God keep him safe. Make some miracle happen. Let him come back.

I don't know why he touched so many people. Just that he did.

His classmates at the Mont Kiara school held a candlelight vigil. They plastered his picture up and down the street. They plastered his picture everywhere. Along with the mobile numbers of his Indian father and Dutch mother. And an email address.

I don't think the kidnappers knew what hit them.

And they must have been eager to get rid of the boy. A ransom demand was made. The father paid. And in the early hours of Thursday, roughly a week after he had been kidnapped, the boy was dropped off at Rawang with a handphone. He called his dad. His dad came to get him.

This is the picture his Dad tweeted when the boy got home. Hugging his little sister.

And here he is, reunited with his classmates:

His father wrote a blogpost thanking everyone for their support. He could not release much information as the police was on the trail of the kidnappers, except that the boy, though traumatised by the whole thing, was fine. And he said he hadn't expected the kind of support the family had received from people they didn't even know from far flung corners of the globe.

But all this has been merely for background. I wanted to tell you what happened last night when I went to Backyard to see my friend Marcel. Albert was playing. Busy the whole day trying to close my section, I hadn't logged on to Facebook and learned of the news until evening. And I let out a whoop. I was overjoyed. I texted Marcel who had invited me the day before to Backyard where he would be going with his friends. I said at first I didn't think I could make it. I didn't know what time we were going to close (we did at 7pm which is way early). Now I had something to celebrate. Now I wanted to celebrate.

When I got there, it seemed that the jubilation was universal.

"The boy is found," Marcel told me, not bothering to specify which boy. There had only been one boy for the past week. "Our first toast was to that."

"The boy is found," said Albert, later when he had finished his set. "Do you know the story?"

I told him what little I knew. Which was not much. But we were both smiling. Of all the things that might have been...the boy was found.

No comments:

Post a Comment