The children could only watch helplessly when someone bought their 'Jeep' that was their companion in the courtyard and drove it away. Even the eldest among the four siblings was yet to attain the age to obtain a driving licence then.
They grew up dreaming to buy back the same 'Jeep' that their father sold in 1996. Twenty-four years later and after a lot of enquiries, they were reunited with the same vehicle. They obtained the vehicle from its fifth RC owner and brought it home. The return of the vehicle to its first owner took place in Pulpatta in Malappuram district.
O P Alibapu bought a new Jeep on July 13, 1994, and registered it in his wife Fathimakutty’s name. Within a short time, the vehicle became a friend of the family. Two years later, due to several constraints, Alibapu had to sell it half-heartedly. That's how they lost the vehicle in 1996. Shabeerali, Shameer, Shameel and Shameej -- Alibapu and Fathimakutty's children -- could not bear the scene. Then the youngest Shabeerali was just three years old and the eldest Shameej was 16.
24 years' wait
Today, Shabeerali is a businessman in Saudi Arabia, Shameer and Shameel are doing business in Australia and Shameej is a pharmacist in Manjeri medical college. All these years they were on the lookout for their KL 10 C 0320 Jeep. Their eyes hit the number plate whenever they spot a Jeep. When the registration details of vehicles became available online, they were optimistic of finding it and buying it at any cost. Since online address was incomplete, their hopes were dashed. Meanwhile, Alibapu and Fathimakutty became panchayat presidents. They too never forgot to remind their acquaintances about the Jeep.
A phone call
A few months ago, Shabeerali was home for vacation. Recently, a friend working in Palakkad RTO called Shabeerali and provided the details of current owner of the Jeep. Soon, Shabeerali, Shameej and two friends set out to the owner's house at Mukkam in Kozhikode. Thought the Jeep was there, the owner was not willing to sell it. However, he gave in after hearing their tale of 24 years' wait.
The vehicle was repainted and several changes including headlights were carried out to give it a new look. Tyres and seats are also new. The registration was renewed at Malappuram RTO. Now, the Jeep is stationed proudly at their home. The Jeep was registered in their mother's name when it was brought for the first time. When it returned, the children didn't forget to register it once again in her name; this time to ensure that it is never sold again.