Beaten up by his mother for not studying, 12-year-old Ankush Domale had run away from home in February 2002. Now, exactly 12 years later, he has been reunited with his family, thanks to Facebook.
Upset with his mother, Ankush had run away to Nanded, over 400 kilometres away from his Pune home. There he started serving the devotees at a Gurudwara. Impressed by his dedication and hard work, the guru there took him to Ludhiana where Ankush started living at the Reru Saheb Gurudwara. He donned a turban and was given the name Gurban Singh.
While living life as a Sikh now, Ankush kept searching for his family. His only means of contact was the telephone number of his uncle which he remembered - but it never got connected as the family had changed their house.
Ankush's family - his mother, Hemlata and brother Santosh who is two years younger to him - also kept searching for him, but to no avail.
It was just two weeks ago that Ankush tried searching for his younger brother on Facebook. With many profiles by the name Santosh, he was able to identify his brother due to similar looks.
Ankush says he was able to convince his mother and brother by telling them about a scar on his face, which he had got as a child while playing near his house.
His guru in Ludhiana immediately made arrangements for him to travel to Pune from Ludhiana.
On seeing him in a Sikh avatar, neighbours and relatives did not believe the person in front of them to be Ankush. But for the Domale family, it was indeed a happy reunion.
Ankush's mother was quick to recognise him from his style of walking and from the scar on his face. Excited, Ankush is now with his family in Pune. But just as his mother and brother don't want him to leave, Ankush too doesn't want to leave his guru who stood with him in his bad days and took him in his stride, leading him to a right path.