In 1964, Murthy was having food in a hotel in Rameshwaram when he attracted a police man's attention because of his voice. Ten years old then, his voice was unique and bold and it made the SI - Swarnaganapathy want the kid to make announcement on behalf of the department.
The kid readily agreed but did not realise that would in a way become his purpose in life. Fifty years later, by making announcements in eight different languages, he has helped rescue more than 48,000 children. Talking about his work, Murthy said,
IG of Ramanathapuram district was present during one of my first announcements and impressed by my voice, he gave me Rs 100 (a hefty amount at that time). Since then, police personnel will call me for all the temple festivals that took place in the southern districts. So far, I have found more than 48,000 children who were lost.
Murthy can fluently make announcements in eight languages - Tamil, English, Malayalam, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu and Kannada. Hence there is an increased demand for him in tourist sports like Rameshwaram.
Popularly known as 'Mike Murthy' in southern Tamil Nadu, he loves the sense of contentment that his job gives him. When a parent of a child that he helped find meets him, even if it is after many years, they instantly recognise him and express their gratitude.
Though this has happened on many occasions, it doesn't mean that Murthy has been able to find all the children that were lost at a temple festival. For instance, when he was making announcements for a temple in Sivagangai district, a couple asked him to find their missing child - a girl named Anushya.
He was making announcements from morning till evening without even having food, determined to find her. But in the evening, they found the girl floating in a pond near the temple. Things like that disturb him until today.
Apart from finding missing children, he also makes announcements to help people who have lost their jewels or money during temple festivals. Often, he has convinced thieves to return the money to their respective owners.
In this journey that spans over five decades, his life has been threatened a lot of times like when a riot or clash happens during a festival. But the 64-year-old continues undeterred, as he takes great pride in being able to contribute in a meaningful way to the society at large.
Read this in Tamil.
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