The CitySpidey spent a good amount of time trying to know this boy of 19 better. We asked him about his life, from the basics of how he starts his day, to how he is known in his neighbourhood, to his hopes, dreams and concerns.
The moment we entered this neighbourhood of small lanes and bylanes we drew a lot of attention. The people living here never thought that one day so many people will gather here, searching for a celebrity. This place never witnessed such a major footfall. Today Pradeep has gained so much sudden popularity that he is getting a lot of love and offers for help from all around. From Army to DM and many more, many are offering him help.
CitySpidey enquired about the Midnight runner from everyone, roamed on the streets, and found that everyone have compliments for him. And it all seemed to be coming from the heart.
We met Sudha Chowdhry, who lives on the 1st floor and shares the same building with Pradeep. Pradeep lives on the 2nd floor. While waiting for this star to appear, as he was busy with DM at that time, we interacted with her. She says, “He is absolutely a Kohinoor. He is a quiet boy. He never disturbs and lives his life almost unnoticed. Even though he is young, just 19 years, he is self-dependent. He prepares his meals himself and never seeks anybody’s help".
She continues, "He earns 10,000 per month and he manages to send a good amount back home. He always pays his rent on time. We never saw his father but yes his mother is very ill. The last time when she came here to stay here with him for 15 days, he was all time so worried about her."
We even met his two cousin brothers. They came from his village back in Almora to meet him. They informed CitySpidey, "We have got a gift for Pradeep, sent by his mother. But when CitySpidey met Pradeep the next day and asked what was the gift that his mother sent? He was surprised. So we are sure it was blessings and cousins were seeking a way to meet the brother who turned so famous after the viral video.
Deepak S. Adhikari( cousin) says, “ We are his cousins and this is a big proud moment for the whole village, that our brother is shining high, topmost trending person right now in the world. We cannot express our happiness enough. At first, we did not recognise him. Then we played the video repeatedly and it was only then that we identified him as our brother who lives in the city. This filled us up with immense sense of pride".
Dharmendra Bhadana, Sweets owner says, “The sale of our shop has increased since this boy has become famous. People from all nooks and corners are coming here to meet him. While waiting for him, they enjoy the sweets and savouries from my shop. We have seen him struggling for a year but never knew that he wants to join the army.".
A senior citizen of his locality, Santram says, “He is a nice kid. In lockdown we saw many organisations coming here to help in ration distribution, but this is the first time we are witnessing the whole media, government officials and fans in our colony's small lanes. He comes home very late, tired but still smiling, and never forgets to greet me if he crosses my way."
A milkman, Raju, while seeing a group of media persons clicking so many snapshots of a Pradeep, took out his mobile camera and clicked a photo too. We asked him, "Do you know him who is he"? Raju responded, "Who doesn't know him, he is a rising star. He runs and he wants to join the army. If wants I would love to offer him a lifetime supply of pure buffalo milk so that his bones get stronger."
We also met Deepak Nigam, who has a medical store in the main market near Pradeep's house. He says, "He runs on various types of roads. There is always a chance of him suffering an injury in future. I'm here to support him with all the medicines if he needs any assistance.". On this CitySpidey says, " Why only you wish to support when he gets an injury, you can support by giving Glucose, multivitamins and energy drinks. " Deepak readily agrees to this suggestion.
It is interesting to see a lot of people coming forward to support or trying to shine in his reflected glory including his own community. Only future would tell us in what way all this attention is going to effect the life of this boy, who till a few nights ago was used to running all alone at night, unnoticed and uncelebrated.