A decision taken in desperation

A decision taken in desperation
Jyoti Kumari 15, pedals 1,200 kilometers for 10 days with her dad just to get home during the lockdown in India. (Photo courtesy of The Statesman)

From her village in eastern India, 15-year-old Jyoti Kumari reflected on her desperate 1,200-kilometer (745-mile) bicycle journey home with her disabled father that has drawn international praise.

“I had no other option,” she said Sunday. “We wouldn’t have survived if I hadn’t cycled to my village.”

Kumari said that she and her father risked starvation had they stayed in Gurugram, a suburb of New Delhi, with no income amid India’s coronavirus lockdown.

Her father, whose injury in an accident left him unable to walk, had earned a living by driving an auto rickshaw. But with all nonessential travel banned, he found himself among millions of newly unemployed. Their landlord demanded rent they couldn’t pay and threatened to evict them, Kumari said.

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