July 9, 2020 4:00:20 am
Two months after he recovered from Covid-19, Old Delhi resident Mukhtiar Ahmed has found himself flooded with congratulations, including from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Speaking to The Indian Express, Ahmed said he was born in a village in Maharashtra’s Osmanabad in the “seventh month of 1913”.
His grandson Mohd Afik (32) said that mid-April, three members of his family, including Ahmed, contracted the virus.
“We got him admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital due to his age, even though he had no symptoms. He was there for 17 days and returned home on May 1. My parents also tested positive and have recovered,” said Afik.
A doctor at the hospital said Ahmed was discharged after his test result came negative, and that his age, “106 years”, was provided by the family. The family said there is no hospital, school or college certificate in their possession to determine his age, but this is what “Ahmed told us when we met him for the first time over a decade ago at a dingy food stall in Bara Hindu Rao”.
Ahmed was “adopted” by Afik’s family that day, after he told them about his life.
“I was born in Osmanabad but later moved to Mumbai, and worked at construction sites, did some masonry, and also built furniture that was used in films. Maine Gandhi ji ko dekha hai, angrezo ka raaj dekha hai, aur swatantra dekhi hai,” Ahmed said.
He said that the 1993 Latur earthquake wiped out several members of his family, including his wife and two children. “I was in Mumbai with my son at the time… he too died a few days later… Some years later, I made it to Delhi. Here, I worked as a mason in Connaught Place, Turkman Gate, Karol Bagh. One day, I was alone and old with nowhere to go,” said Ahmed, fondly called Abba by his adopted family.
His “granddaughter” Taiyaba, who plays mediator in all conversations as Ahmed is hard of hearing, said: “When we met him, he told us his age and his story. He tells us stories about seeing Gandhi ji. How could we have left him on the streets at that age?”
On Wednesday, Kejriwal said Ahmed’s recovery was “inspiring”, and congratulated doctors who treated him.
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