THE PANCHKULA police came knocking on the door of a 69-year-old on Tuesday. They were on a special, secret mission – to deliver a birthday surprise for the Sector 7 resident.
The resident, identified as Karan Puri, owns a famous book shop at Panjab University of Chandigarh, and lives in Panchkula alone. In the heartwarming video released by the police on Twitter that soon went viral, a team of women personnel can be seen wishing him and singing for him as he bursts into tears.
Talking to The Indian Express, Puri said, “I was just roaming around the house with nothing to do. Then suddenly a patrol car came by and stopped outside. I thought they had stopped to scold me for being outside, but instead, they took out a cake and a cap and started singing. It was all very overwhelming for me. I have never been much for emotions, but it was touching. The tears were a surprise for me too.”
The plan was made on April 26, two days before Puri’s birthday, when a 25-year-old Vishal Nijhawan tweeted to the Panchkula police, requesting them for a surprise for Puri. The prompt reply from the police made him hopeful that Puri would not spend his birthday alone.
“I had met him back in my college days at the Panjab University, when I was a student of English master’s. I used to frequent his book store often and we would chat,” said Vishal. After he passed out in 2017, he stayed in touch with Puri, who pushed him towards pursuing a career in Civil Services. The two used to meet time and again.
“He helped me get enrolled in PU for tuitions of UPSC. When I was having trouble finding a place to live, he asked me to stay with him for a few days and I did. He is like my grandfather,” Vishal said.
Puri has touched the lives of several Panjab University students, acting as a mentor to them. His two sons stay in Delhi and Australia, and could not have managed to come for the birthday.
Inspector Neha, SHO Women police Station, who went to Puri’s house, said, “When we reached, he was outside his house and ran back seeing us. As we called him out, I think he got apprehensive that we were going to scold him. But when we sang, he started crying. It was very emotional for us too. We were four women and all of us started crying. It was our driver who consoled Puri.”
Neha had received a WhatsApp message on their official group with information of his birthday. As she reached her office on Tuesday, she had decided to take a cake for him, which she bought with her own money. “It’s just a cake. If it makes anybody feel less lonely, it’s worth it”, she said.
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