Lakhs of migrant workers across the country had begun walking home as soon as the lockdown was imposed due to the pandemic. Among the people who came forward to help the migrant workers was actor Sonu Sood, who catapulted to the national spotlight for his work in helping migrants reach their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic by arranging buses, train tickets and and chartered flights. He will now pen a book about his experience.
His debut book, as-of-yet untitled, will reveal the emotional and often challenging journeys the actor undertook along with the people he helped.
It will be released later this year, announced publishing house Penguin Random House India on Wednesday.
"... I want to thank God for making me a catalyst in helping the migrants. While my heart beats in Mumbai, after this movement I feel a part of me lives in the villages of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Uttarakhand and various other states where I have now found new friends and made deep connections.
"I have decided to put these experiences, stories that are embedded in my soul forever, in a book ... I'm excited, nervous and overwhelmed, and I can't wait to connect with you through my book. I look forward to your support and love you all," Sood said in a statement.
The 46-year-old actor launched an initiative to help reunite migrant workers who were stranded in Mumbai with their families in distant corners of the country.
Sood and his team rolled out a toll-free number and a WhatsApp helpline to connect with the workers and then arrange transportation for those desperate to reach their homes. Later, he arranged for food, buses, trains and even chartered flights for stranded migrants, some of whom were walking home after the lockdown was imposed earlier in March and left them jobless.
"The past three-and-half months have been a kind of a life-changing experience for me, living with the migrants for sixteen to eighteen hours a day and sharing the pain. When I go to see them off as they begin their journey back home, my heart is filled with joy and relief.
"Seeing the smiles on their faces, the tears of happiness in their eyes has been the most special experience of my life, and I pledged that I'll keep on working to send them back to their homes until the last migrant reaches his village, to his loved ones," he added.
Famous antagonist in reel-life, and a true hero in real, Sood on Monday also pledged financial support to over 400 families of migrants, who died or were injured during the coronavirus lockdown.
Milee Ashwarya, publisher, Ebury Publishing and Vintage Publishing, Penguin Random House, said the book will bring together the story of Sood's amazing journey - "of people who were suddenly left without security and livelihood; of hope and the feeling of oneness that binds us all together".