Saturday, June 6, 2020

You'll want to meet Jyoti the lionhearted

Mohan Paswan lives in the rural village of Bihar, India, but in order to find work, he went 750 miles away to New Dehli, where he was a rickshaw driver until last month when he was badly injured. His daughter Jyoti Kumari, 15, dropped out of school and went to New Dehli to care for her dad. When the lockdown happened, they had no income and the landlord cut off their electricity. That's when Jyoti suggested they return to their faraway village. At first, Mohan was aghast at his daughter's suggestion that she take him home. "It's 750 miles!" he said. "How shall we go?"

Jyoti had cycled a lot in their village, and they had just enough money left ($20) to buy a bicycle. They rode the entire distance with Joyti pedaling as her dad riding on the seat with his heavy bag. It was not a glamorous journey. They often lacked food and slept at gas stations. The pair travelled nearly 100 miles per day. On borrowed cell phones, Jyoti would reassure her worried mother, "Don't worry, I'll get Papa home good." True to her word, she got him home. Since then, the Indian media has dubbed her "Jyoti the lionhearted." The teenage girl has been contacted by the chairman of the Cycling Federation of India, urging her to try out for the national team.

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