His family had been staying in India for the past 22 years and had returned to Nepal after the COVID outbreak. They are living in a pathetic condition in his village now.

Lalchandra Dhami, a resident of Swamikartik Khapar Rural Municipality, Bajura, had come to Nepal a year ago following the COVID outbreak.

They are now staying in the shed of his neighbours, as he doesn't have his own home or land.

According to Lalchandra, his family found itself in dire condition after his wife and eldest daughter eloped with fellow workers.

"As I am handicapped, my wife and eldest daughter were looking after us. But after they eloped with the workers of the company where I worked, we were stranded in India itself.

Subsequently, the COVID outbreak further added to our worries and we had to return to Nepal," said Lal Bahadur.

Lal Bahadur has two daughters, aged 17 and 14, and two sons, aged nine and seven, with him now. According to locals, the kids can't speak proper Nepali and don't go to school. "We find it difficult to put food on the table; how would I send them to school?" asked Lalchandra.

Lalchandra's son Suraj said he wanted to go to school but was forced to stay home due to lack of money.

"In fact, I don't have clothes to wear either, but sometimes I get something from villagers and I happily wear that," he said, while Lalchandra said he was providing for his family by begging.

"There is no work in the village and on top of that I am handicapped, so there is no option for me other than to beg to keep my family alive," Lalchandra said as tears welled up in his eyes.

Local Janam Dhami called for help for the family.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 24, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.