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“I migrated to Mumbai to be an actor so one day I could help these migrants,” says Sonu Sood



Sonu Sood

A  lady who wanted to reach  the beauty parlour, a child who wanted his mother to be reached  to  her grandmother, a man who wanted  to  reach  a  booze store…. Sonu Sood who has  taken on himself  the responsibility of seeing thousands  of  wage-earning migrants  reach home, gets  such strange requests on an hourly basis.

Sonu  Sood who turns  47 on July 30   laughs these off as part  of the  territory. “They  are part  of the whole movement. There are youngsters  who  want to be with their girlfriend/boyfriend…I respond to them in a lighthearted  manner , to  keep their spirits  high. There’s a bond that I’ve formed  with all these migrants. We’ve become a  part of one big family.”

How does Sonu’s immediate family  feel  about his  passion for  the  migrants’ home-travel? “You know I  get no  time to spend with my wife and sons. Once in a while my children  come  and hug me and grumble that  I’ve no time  for them. Sometimes days pass before I am  able to meet them. I am constantly monitoring all the travel plans  of  the migrants. I don’t even have time to look  at my family.But they are  my  biggest  support system. They know the importance  of what I am doing.That every hour  lost probably means  a hundred more migrants unable to get home.”

 Does Sonu feel morally obligated  to  get these migrants  home?

He thinks  over that  question and then replies gently, “It’s a promise from me to take  them home.They (the migrants) trust me. They depend on me to reach them  to their homes. If they are all set to walk or cycle  to their homes thousands  of miles away, and  if I  tell them to wait  a day or two  so I can arrange for their travel, they stay back . It then becomes  my  responsibility to get the necessary  permissions and see to it that they get to their loved ones. So yes, it’s a responsibility. But I am more than up to  it.”

The sense  of satisfaction that comes to Sonu from helping these distressed migrants is beyond words. “I’ve been a part  of  the film industry for twenty years and  done about a 100  films . But nothing I’ve done  so far  has given me this  kind of  inner peace and satisfaction. I now feel that I migrated to Mumbai to be  an actor so one day I could help these  migrants. I feel this was something I was  born to do. I feel  blessed that God has chosen me for this mission..”

Sonu never thought he  would one day be part  of such a massive migratory  movement. “Thousands  of people walking with little kids and  elders  …I  never thought I’d  see this in my life.When it happened  I couldn’t sit at home making videos and  discussing digital   content. I wanted  to come  forward and  hold the hands of these  distressed migrants and tell them, ‘Boss, you are  not alone, We are with you. You  build our homes offices roads and   you are the heartbeats of our country and there’s no way I can let you down’. I promised them I’d do my best to  see  them reach home.”

What are  the  strangest travel requests  Sonu has received?  “Well, there  was a man who wanted me to reach him to a booze shop. I told that was not possible but if after downing several  drinks he needed help to  return home I could look into that. Then there was a couple grumbling they can’t stay  locked down together anymore.I  suggested they take  a trip to Goa together after  the lockdown…I think that’s what my wife and I need to do after this is over.”

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