Ray of Hope After Months, Apparent Sighting Claims of Jerusha Rai in Chitwan

Please be her, please be her, please be her!

This might be one of the many claims that didn’t lead to anything, but every single lead is worth looking into.

Quite a number of people have claimed to have seen Jerusha Rai in last twelve months — 351 days, to be exact, as of today (on Sep 6, 2023) — since she has been missing. On the evening of September 20, 2022 (somewhere around 7:30); ‘Barud’ singer-songwriter left her Dhobhighat, Lalitpur residence without saying a single word to anyone. She did leave a note, that was found later in the midnight, sitting on her laptop. Roughly, as per her mother, she had written something like, “I have experienced everything, I’ve had enough.” She is still missing.

After months of search and rescue efforts, when the hopes of finding her are slightly getting lower with every single passing day; there seems to be ray of hope as a couple of people have claimed to have seen her around Chitwan on Sep 5th. Some social media posts that are making rounds on Facebook and Instagram claim that phone calls have been received from Chitwan that Jerusha was seen around Tandi.

There’s a chance that those people might have mistaken someone else for her, but what if, what if it was her. So, everyone in and around Chitwan; please be extra attentive for some time and look for her around you when you are out. And if you do happen to spot her somewhere, please inform the local police; and also inform her family by giving them a call at one of these numbers: 9861697206, 9818762437, 9809363637. That would mean the world to her family, friends, fans and well wishers.

I just hope, really, really hope it was actually her. No matter where she is, and what she is doing; knowing that she is okay will be the biggest and happiest news right now.

Not a single day goes when Jerusha’s mother is not looking at the door, hoping that her daughter comes back home — to her. In a recent interview with a YouTube channel Rhythm Online in June, her mother had expressed that she still has high hopes that she is somewhere out there, gone somewhere to find peace and meditate — may be in a Gumba somewhere.

The 30-year-old artist had a tough last couple of years, as per her mum. Daughter of a British Gurkha soldier, she had moved to the UK for further education after completing her Grade 12 in Nepal. She was into music from an early age and ‘We All Make Mistapes’ was her first mix-tape that she released in 2015, followed by debut studio album ‘A Dark Place to Think’ a year later. ‘Sunsaan’ was her second album, released in 2019.

I remember being blown away with her music right from her early days; no wonder, she was part of my list of 10 most promising Nepali artists based abroad (in 2017).

Along with her music, she continued doing well in academics as well. After finishing her Masters, she left for the US — to be with the love of her life. As per her mother, she got married there but the relationship started getting rocky. She could see that her relationship was falling apart, and it was around that time when she started struggling with depression. Along with visiting the hospitals in the US, she also started to visit home in Nepal a little more frequently.

Last year, she decided to come home for good. But after less than two months of arriving here, she left — with the intention of not to be found this time — leaving a note behind.

The night she left, her mom realized it a little later when she went to her room and didn’t find her there. She went all around the house and then went outside to see if she has gone to any of the shops nearby — but nothing. She then started looking around at the hospitals, thinking she might have got into an accident and someone might have taken her to any hospital. Nothing, again.

The next morning, her missing report was filed at the police station. They started by looking at the CCTV footage of all the streets and she was seen in one of them — around Sundarighat after leaving home that evening — but that was it, that was the first and also the only CCTV footage in which she was spotted.

For not just days or weeks, but months, she was searched for — by the police and a number of other search teams of volunteers including family and friends who had come from various parts of the world. Her posters were all over the internet, and even pasted at hundreds of places around all over Nepal. There were various claims of her sighting at many places as well, but she was nowhere to be found.

Everyone has returned to their lives now, but how could a mother do so. Having spent numerous sleepless nights — waiting — even she is on antidepressants now. But she hasn’t lost hope, she is looking forward to the day when her baby girl comes home to her.

Jerusha had lately been interested in digging deep into her roots — she wanted to learn more about Kiraat culture, language and history. She even wanted to research all about it and write a book, according to her mother. So yeah, there’s that. May be she is somewhere, in somewhat remote place, deep into her studies and research — away from all the noise, chaos and a stressful life. May be, may be!

Yes, there are a lot of possibilities and I really hope, she is out there, living a peaceful life somewhere, not wanting to be bothered by anyone. I just wish she would call her mom someday soon and just tell her, “Aama, ma sanchai chhu.”

Her mother deserves that, she needs to know that her chhori is okay. So, please do spread the word. Let’s find her, internet! Let’s do this for a mother!


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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