41st recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘…. I travel around 6 kms daily, just to fetch water for our daily household needs.’

41 Mason dharmendra saroj

41st recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘…. I travel around 6 kms daily, just to fetch water for our daily household needs.’

Dharmendra Saroj. (30)

Profession – Mason.

The moment he mentioned his name to me, I told him it’s a great name and asked him if he knows Hema Malini; he shyly nodded his head sideways. The thing that struck me about him was he was very short and skinny. When I saw him first, he was eating bhel, (I eat Bhel too), seated on the pavement, and for some reason I felt the huge gap between us.

Dharmendra is from Benaras, UP. Educated up to the 6th std, he arrived in Mumbai in 2006. There is no one in his family other than him, him being the eldest, who could work when his father retired, so he had to leave school and his village and come to Mumbai to seek a livelihood. His parents are old, and he said his married younger brother does not work because his rich in-laws have told him he need not work for a living as they can feed him for life.
Dharmendra said that with such regret, such sadness, such hopelessness, his shoulders slumping down at that moment. I too thought that his brother’s in-laws by assuring him (his brother) of meals and a lifestyle for life, with probably nothing in return, except probably a subliminal/discreet demand that he look after their daughter and their grand-kids, will ruin his life!; because a man or woman must be financially independent for their survival instincts and self esteem to remain kickin n alive. Furthermore, I thought that as an elder brother who left school to earn his family a livelihood, Dharmendra’s dreams for his younger brother must have crashed!, even if his brother had none and is happy in the comfortable situation he may be in; is my perspective to his sadness to his brother’s situation.
Dharmendra works as a mason. He often goes to buy building material supplies, so he needs a bicycle that can help him transport the supplies to site now and then. He is married and has two children, a boy (6) and a girl (4), both kids study in school. His wife does not work, because, in his words, ‘in our culture we do not allow our women to earn a livelihood.’ His family lives with him at Nalasopara. He earns around 250 to 300 a day. He likes the daily-wages kind of job, because a daily-wages worker gets paid on time, daily. He had a bicycle before, but one day his brother took it to Virar and it was stolen.

I asked him about his most challenging period ever; he replied ‘I am currently facing a very difficult time. I have just returned spending two months in my village doing farming and I have yet to pay the rent for my house which is due for four months. Every year for two months I need to return to my village twice, for the farming we do on land that belongs to others. We farm on land that does not belong to us, so we get to keep only 50 percent of the produce. The land is not ours, but it is we who sow the land and we who cut the ripe crop, and give 50 percent of the produce to the land owner as a fee to farm on his land. So to do the sowing and cutting I have to go to my village for two months every year twice, once to sow and later to cut the yield. My mother supervises the farm in my absence.’

I asked him how will he benefit from the used bicycle we donating to him; his reply, ‘Everyday, I have to request someone for a bicycle when I need one to water or carry supplies. If I have one of my own, I will not have to ask anyone for the favor. When I often borrow Chaurasia Bhelwala’s bike to do my work, I also run his errands just to return his favor of lending me his bicycle. We need to daily travel 6 kms just to fetch the water we need for our daily use. I carry the water on a bicycle, 6 kms daily. (I thought then, ‘SIX kms!!! And for me, portable water can pour endlessly like a waterfall from nearly a dozen or more taps in my house, day and night’!!!) Now, with this bike, I can simply take my own bike to fetch the water or fetch building supplies. I do not need to ask anyone for help, I will be independent. I believe that a cycle is everything; there is no vehicle in this world like the bicycle! Just pick it up and ride away whenever you want or need to, and you do not need anything but yourself to ride one. Thank you to the two people who have gifted me this cycle.’

Thank you to Farzana Suri and Yogesh Shetty for purchasing this bicycle for Dharmendra.

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https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

40th recipient of livelihood bicycle (a personal adapted roadster donated by a rider pal)

40 gardner rajendra bhosle

40th Recipient of livelihood (an adapted-roadster) bicycle.

Name: Rajendra Bhosle. 45.
(Village, Phalton, Sholapur.)

Profession: Gardener. Works as one (house keeper cum gardener) at a Guest House at Bhilar Village, Taluka – Mahableshwar.
Bicycle donated: ‘Super Express’ Made In India.

In January, when Nicolas offered his personal ‘Super Express’ roadster bicycle to my charity, without any specific criteria whom I should donate it to, he said ….‘I trust you will give it to someone worthy …’ etc;
In a flash, I realized that his beautiful bike, which has such a wonderful hand-paint job on it which is so fascinating and beautiful, I felt that ideally it should be donated to someone who will not use it/need it to carry heavy loads on it, particularly any load or materials that can scratch the beautiful-colorful-hand-paint job on it. I thought we should give it to someone who needs a bike mostly to transport himself to work, and who now and then transports any kind of light weight stuff for his personal use or for his profession’s needs.

I know that Rajendra had a permanent job, since 2002, of a gardener cum looking after a private guest house in the same residential colony where I reside in Mahableshwar; but the holiday-home/guest house ceased business a couple of months ago, and though he remains employed with them he is insecure about his future as the owner has not conveyed how long he will keep paying him his salary even though his guest house has shut completely. So I thought this bike will definitely be of good use to him, as it will help him save on his transportation cost.

Moreover, his adult son, Sagar, will ride it too. Sagar is soon graduating as a motor mechanic, a degree course, and is a student who gets marks in the range of 70 percent; A boy deserving of help, I reasoned with myself. Father and son will use the bike, on and off, so I felt quite satisfied that Nicolas’s donation will not be wasted, as this bike will be used by two persons within the same family.
Thank you to Nicolas, for this donation to Rajendra on my personal request.

“Nicolas, I rode your sweetheart of a bicycle for nearly a month, almost every weekend, as I could not travel to Bhilar to hand it to Rajendra all of last month; I loved the rides so much, that I am seriously tempted to buy a similar roadster-bike for myself!, and ask a dear pal to hand-paint her for me; I will name her, ‘Indian Express – Bicycle Angel.’ Regards.”

Also thanks to Faisal Thakur of Pro 9, and his brother Khalid, for dismantling the bike for me, so that I can transport it to Bhilar in the boot of my car.

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https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

39th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘…somehow or the other we always manage to save our newspapers from getting wet in the rains, but in the bargain we always get wet…’

39 newspaper rajaram

39th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘…somehow or the other we always manage to save our newspapers from getting wet in the rains, but in the bargain we always get wet…’ (…… kaise bhi karke paper toh bheegne se bachaa lete hain hum log, lekin hum khudh bheegh jaate hain hamesha.’)

Rajaram yadav. (53)
Newspaper delivery man. (Village: UP.) Lives at Sion.

Rajaram has been living in Mumbai since 1986. He arrived here on the death of his father, he had to earn a livelihood to help his family survive, because he was the eldest child. The first nearly two years he struggled to find a regular kind of job, and eventually found the newspaper delivery profession. He delivers them in the Bandra West area. He had two bikes earlier but over time their condition deteriorated and he had to scrap them. Post that he has been delivering without a bicycle as he could not buy another.
He mentioned it’s important to have a bike that is in good condition because they cannot afford to have a puncture or breakdown as then their paper delivery gets delayed.

I asked him which has been his most challenging times in life; his reply, ‘I was the eldest, we are three brothers and one sister. Before I came to work in Bombay, I was a farmer and used to plough the fields and did that for nearly 14 years. We had the support of farming, but we were unable to save money from the farming. Whatever we earned from farming was just enough just to feed us, we could not save a penny beyond what we ate. Yet I managed to help my two brothers and sister get married after my father died. When I got married, my wife could not come stay with me for nine years as I could not afford to maintain her on my own.

I asked him the challenges he faces in his profession;
His reply – ‘The biggest challenge and problem we face in this profession is during the monsoons; somehow or the other we always manage to save our newspapers from getting wet in the rains, but in the bargain we always get wet, irrespective of the precautions we take for ourselves like wearing rain coats or plastic sheets over our shoulders and upper body…! (…… kaise bhi karke paper toh bheegne se bachaa lete hain hum log, lekin hum khudh bheegh jaate hain hamesha.’); one thing is there, though we get completely drenched and it’s for hours that we remain wet, I must say that we rarely catch a cold or fever. (smiles) And even when we have fever, yet we deliver the paper to our customers somehow or the other, and that too in time!’ (smiles)

“Wow!!!’ I thought in praise of him and his courageous and highly-responsible tribe of people, as I heard him speak with so much pride about how his tribesmen work so hard to do a job that most of us marginalize until our newspaper is not there when we ready with our cup of hot tea or coffee or cigarette to read it. In hindsight, Hats off to my own newspaper man, Lau Paudwal, too. I never ever thought of him being wet, cold and drenched when it rains, while I enjoy reading my dry newspaper with a cup of steaming hot tea and melancholic-ally looking out at the torrential rain and mist through the tall glass windows of my bedroom, and sometimes writing a poem on the gorgeous rainy-scenario!

Rajaram was very happy that he is receiving a used second hand bicycle, and mentioned no one has ever given him a free bicycle for his profession ever before, he has always had to buy one himself. Thank you Farzana Suri for giving the two fruit setters Shrawan and Rahul Gupta a new bicycle; because it is their used bicycle that we donated to Rajaram.

And thank you to Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good service.
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https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

38th recipients of livelihood bicycle: …. crisis, I felt as he spoke to me, established him financially! Crisis most often make us!….’

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38th recipients of livelihood bicycle: …. crisis, I felt as he spoke to me, established him financially! Crisis most often make us!….’

Shrawan (26) and Rahul (20) Gupta.

Fruit Sellers (Both brothers sell fruits from a Hand-pushed four wheels cart, and his brother does home delivery on their common bicycle.)
Village – Pratapgadh, UP.

Shrawan arrived in Mumbai around 20 years ago. He studied till 7th Std only, in a school in Mumbai, as his father expired while he was working in Mumbai, so Shrawan had to leave school and financially support his family. He began assisting his uncle (chacha) who sells fruits in Mumbai, to earn a living. His uncle and he helped get his 3 sisters married. He is married and his child goes to school.

He has one younger brother, Rahul. Rahul delivers fruits for other vendors on carter road from 7 am to 10 pm daily, with a break in the afternoon, no work on Sundays. He is educated up to the 8th std, because he had to start working too and assist his elder brother. Both bothers survive off one hand cart as their vehicle of livelihood, and one bicycle to transport themselves and the fruits for home delivery, their bike is around 10 years old. He is in Mumbai since 5 years. Rahul rides up to Santacruz west to deliver fruits ordered. They ride on the bicycle to work on carter road, and stand around perry cross road and rajan sherley road too. I too have been buying fruits from him since a year now.

I asked him random questions, his replies – ‘….I have many good customers, but the best are those who respect me well, ask me about how I am doing and enquire about how my work is doing. The only problem I face in this profession is the harassment from some police persons and some BMC persons. I never throw fruits that I am unable to sell and get dated, but not spoilt, I give them to the poor. I never throw them away as waste. I personally like Papaya most, from the many fruits I sell. Its tasty and good for digestion. A new cycle in exchange of my old one will help me do deliveries, it will ride smoother, so easier for us to do more rounds of deliveries.’
He had also told me earlier when I had approached him for this exchange that the fact that his bike will be donated to someone makes him feel happier receiving a new one in exchange. Shrawan spent around Rs 600 on the repairs of his old bike before handing it to me.

I asked Shrawan what was the most difficult times he has ever faced until now …?; He replied. It was when he had got married, he needed money to support his wife, so he left his uncle’s fruit business amicably, and purchased his own four wheel hand cart so that he can be financially independent, and he did become.
Those crisis, I felt as he spoke to me, established him financially! Crisis most often make us, I felt once again on hearing yet another recipient speak of their crisis-moments.

Thank you to Farzana Suri, for donating a new bicycle to Shrawan and Rahul; their old bike we will donate to a worthy recipient. They spent some money on their old bike to make it more worthy for donation to another.

And thank you to Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good discount and service.

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https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

37th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘…. My father taught me… if I must lie, it should equal to the amount of extra salt in a meal; just enough to not leave a bad taste nor ruin the dish.’

37 Dinanath Sahu Gupta Onions Patatoes

37th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘…. My father taught me… if I must lie, it should equal to the amount of extra salt in a meal; just enough to not leave a bad taste nor ruin the dish.’

Name: Dina Nath Sahu. (age 32)

Onions and Potatoes vendor. (He has been carrying them on his head and shoulders, until now. Hereafter, he will carry them on the bicycle.)

Dina Nath is from Allahabad, UP. He arrived in Bombay around 7 years ago. He has two brothers. He lives in his own, without any support from his brothers or parents. He supports his pat=rents, and his wife and child. He has a son who is around 8 years and goes to school. He resides at Nalasopara. He is educated till the 5th Std., he could not study beyond due to his family’s financial circumstances.

I asked him which has been the most challenging time he has ever faced?;
He replied, ‘Since we are born in this world, we have to live and bear the problems and difficulties that come with the life given to us. That is the way of the world, and God. Both my brothers betrayed my parents and our family. My elder brother cheated his younger brother of his earnings, (we had a joint family business of selling Bhel and pani puri etc); and my middle brother cheated me of my share in our earnings. Both my elder brothers did not spare even my parents, so what am I for them?
But I do not stress about what both my brothers did to us. I have learnt one thing in life, God has sent us to this world and if our hands, legs, mind, are able, and if we are willing to work hard, success will kiss our hands and feet.
Hard work, good behavior, good manners, honesty, trust, faith, are things that will help us become successful in anything we do, such a person will not go hungry. A person who will spend his time in any kind of ‘nasha’, like drugs, alcohol, etc, he will definitely fail.’

I asked him if he can define God to me; His reply, ‘I believe in God, because He is the only one, there is no one else for any of us. However hard my life be in the day, God provides me a meal by night and I am grateful to Him for that. Irrespective of how much we earn and have, nothing will leave with us when we die. The only thing we can take forward is our love, and our good deeds.’

I felt he has be given these values at home, so I asked him if there is something his mother, father, taught him that he will pass on to his kids;
His reply, ‘…. My father taught me never to steal, never to lie. And if I must lie, it should equal to the amount of extra salt in a meal, just enough to not leave a bad taste or ruin the dish. Be honest and do not betray anyone’s trust. ’ As he said that, about equating a white lie to being the right amount of salt in our meal, I realized what he must have really meant is that one should not lie to such an extent that it ruins someone’s reputation and or your own.

A bicycle will save him time in travelling and he can execute more deliveries and thus better his livelihood and help his family improve their lives, he told me.

Thank you to Satya H and Shashi C. Sai Seva, for donating a new bike to the cigarette seller Rajendra. Rajendra’s old bike we donated to Dina Nath.

Thank you Kohinoor Cycles for the good service.

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https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

You decide, they travel. Peeta Planet in Mumbai.

Emirati-brothers

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/you-decide-they-travel/15082081

For the episode on Mumbai themed ‘In Constant Motion’, the brothers met a guy named Rakesh Bakshi. “Rakesh buys new bicycles and gives them to people whose lives heavily depend on bicycles, such as somebody who delivers flowers. Rakesh was amazed how we found him, as there is hardly any news about him,” Peyman laughs.

 

Two Emirati brothers, Mohammad and Peyman Parham Al Awadhi, came up with the concept of hosting a show where they build their itineraries and experiences in each city by engaging with social media communities and asking for recommenda-tions. Pic/Atul Kamble Instead, what you do get are hidden gems — places you might have never heard of, people who’re quietly making a difference to the way we live but are not featured in the media, food that is unique to the city and experiences that only a Mumbaikar would really be aware of.

Now imagine a travel show like that, which features a different city or country in each episode, telling you where to go, what to eat, where to shop, who to meet, among other things, that are off the beaten track. And now, think of how it would be if you could tell the hosts where to go and they prepare their itineraries based on your suggestions. Put all of this together and you get Peeta Planet. Two Emirati brothers, Mohammad and Peyman Parham Al Awadhi, came up with the concept of hosting a travel show, where they experience each city by engaging with social media communities and asking for recommendations.

The first of the show was aired last year and was widely appreciated. The duo is back with Season Two. The first city on their schedule being Mumbai. And while they were in the city, we caught up with the brothers at InterContinental at Marine Drive, their hospitality partner. From being two corporate guys to opening up their own restaurant, Wild Peeta, in Dubai to hosting the show on Dubai One TV, Mohammad and Peyman have come a long way indeed. The brothers first used social media as a marketing tool back in 2009, when they decided to open their restaurant. “We didn’t tell anyone how amazing we are. We just told them our story as new entrepreneurs, the challenges of being a start-up in Dubai and those kind of things. People started connecting with us,” says Mohammad, the elder of the two brothers. It was this relationship they formed with their followers, along with a sudden plan to go on a vacation, that gave them the idea for Peeta Planet. “We decided to ask our followers where to go for a short vacation and some of them suggested Sri Lanka. And while we were there, they kept telling us what to do. That gave us the idea for the show,” he adds.

Two years later, it was showtime. “We have researchers who constantly engage with our followers on the social media, who suggest various things for the show,” says Peyman. For the second season, they have places like Johannesburg, Manila, Mexico City, San Jose, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Amman, Athens, Rome and Madrid on their list.

For the episode on Mumbai themed ‘In Constant Motion’, the brothers met a guy named Rakesh Bakshi. “Rakesh buys new bicycles and gives them to people whose lives heavily depend on bicycles, such as somebody who delivers flowers. Rakesh was amazed how we found him, as there is hardly any news about him,” Peyman laughs.

And what are the kind of reactions they get from people when they see them dressed in their traditional kandorahs? “There are stereotyped images in people’s minds, and sometimes they think they might say something that might offend us. But two minutes into the conversation, they forget what we’re wearing. It becomes one conversation,” says Mohammad. And is there any place that they would love to go? “Bhutan, Mongolia, Liberia and Alaska,” says Mohammad, and adds with a laugh, “But for Peyman, it will have to be a place with a shopping mall!” The show will premiere on April 5 on Dubai One TV. It can also be viewed on the channel’s website, and on its YouTube link. – See more at: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/you-decide-they-travel/15082081#sthash.Qb0LYhzR.dpuf

Thank you to the two brothers and co-hosts, for buying the entire day’s flowers purchased by recipient Shyamlal Adak Das (30th recipient) at Dadar west flower market, when they shot him, for their Dubai One Tv series episode on Mumbai, this month. – Rakesh Bakshi.

36th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘… ‘I have been selling things on my bicycle since 1970, until today no one ever offered to exchange my old bike for a new one.’

Rajendra prasad gupta ciggarette

“I have been selling things on my bicycle since 1970, until today no one ever offered to exchange my old bike for a new one.”

Name: Rajendra Prasad Gupta.
Occupation: Cigarette Vendor.
36th Recipient

Rajendra is around 60-61, he arrived from UP to Bombay in 1970 in the search of a livelihood. He has been riding a livelihood bicycle ever since 1971! Selling cigarettes since then in Bandra East area. He also drove an autorickshaw for a few years, then reverted to being a vendor of cigarettes on a bicycle.

He has a son who is around 25, but he seemed disinterested in this profession, but is helping his father lately because now he is 60 plus and falls ill often and its about time to took over the route his father has been riding since over 3 decades.
Now, since 5 to 6 years, it is his son who rides on and off and he walks behind him to teach him the ropes of dealing with the retailers. His son is educated till the 8th Std. His profession earns him around Rs 200 to 300 a day.

His wife suffers from some mental issues, and also has some problems with her legs and she is nearly bedridden since many years and can barely drag herself to move around. He had three daughters and he has educated them, and now all of them are married.

I asked him when has he faced any kind of overwhelming problems, and he said, ‘I have faced problems every five to six years. Lately, my goods were stolen and I had to pay the supplier for the same. Diabetes is another problem I have been facing lately. and the ill health of my wife.’

I generally asked him, has he ever received monetary help to buy a bicycle for his profession by the companies he sells cigarettes for, or ever borrowed money to buy one?…. He replied, ‘I have been selling things on my bicycle since 1970, I purchased bicycles two or three times over the years and always from my own money; until today no one ever offered to exchange my old bike for a new one. Aapke dost log jinhon ne isska paisa bhara, pehle log hain. (Your donor friends who brought me this bicycle are the very first!) And with God’s grace.’

Rajendra is amongst those many recipients who spent his money on his old bicycle before he gave it to us to donate further. In fact, almost every recipient willingly spent their money in making their old bikes a bit better before giving it to us for further donation.

Thank you to Satya H and Shashi C Sai Seva, for jointly buying him a new bicycle. His used old bicycle we will donate to some needy person.

Thank you Kohinoor Cycles Siddharth Vora for the good discount.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/
https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

35th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘… Green bangles and bangles that have the color of grass, are big sellers.’

Zainuddin bangles

35th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘… Green bangles and bangles that have the color of grass, are big sellers.’

Name: Zainuddin. (60 plus).
Village UP. Born and brought up in Bombay, lives at Khar East.

Zainuddin smiled on seeing me. He has been selling bangles since childhood. He has been walking on streets selling them ever since; this is the first time he will use a bicycle to ferry his bangles, as he finds them too heavy to carry now on his shoulders, as he is growing older and older by the day.

He says his bangles are brought mainly by East Indians, and Maharashtrians; green color bangles and those the color of grass sell the most, he said. He carries with him talcum powder, for those women whose hands are too broad for his delicate glass bangles to slide over their wrists easily without breaking.
When he said this I thought to myself, ‘Hmmm so they can be as fragile as many of us.’

I asked him what does he really like about his work of selling bangles; Zainuddin replied, ‘… my work is to do with Mothers and daughters, (‘Mera kaam Maaon aur Betiyon se hai.’) so I feel it is a very emotionally satisfying profession; even though I got into it because I had no other opportunities ever, I love this job.’

Zainuddin has a daughter, and he has a son who is lame or has polio, I did not hear that clearly, but I know he meant his son who is 30 plus is handicapped, physically challenged.

I asked him his most challenging moment ever, his biggest suffering ever; he said he has always faced lots of problems and even now at this old age he is suffering a lot because his son is lame and jobless, and his young daughter is too.
Then he became silent and right then I knew he is gone into a deeper space. Because his eyes began to get moist.
He continued, ‘The hardest time I faced was the death of my young son. He was a bag maker, and was on his way to work he fell off the local train and died…’ Zainuddin began to cry and could not finish his sentence. He covered his face and tears to hide them from me, but I could hear his cries.
For the first time in my life, probably, I placed my hand on the shoulder of a complete stranger so much elder in age who was crying profusely while speaking with me. I told him I didn’t know what to say, so I just said that I too have lost my parents and I miss them as much.

(Note – I am mentioning this incident, that I placed my hand on his shoulder and tapped him gently a couple of times, only in context to what happened when we donated a bike last week to Jaihind Kumar the Milk man; when Jaihind cried telling me about his uncle betraying his family, I had got paralyzed not knowing how to react to a stranger who is crying while speaking with me! However, today, I feel I evolved just a bit by being able to act positively in a similar situation.
Moreover, the day before yesterday, when I was interviewed by the two hosts of Peeta Planet Travel Series (the show on Dubai One Tv), for our Bicycle Angels social initiative, they had asked me, ‘Rakesh, what is in it for you? What do YOU get by finding worthy recipients for these donor bicycles donated by your friends?….’ Well, I hope, this incident I mentioned here, too, answers their sincere question, that it helps me evolve too.)

Returning to Zainuddin, after a few minutes he composed himself. I did not want to ask him anything more; I now knew the bike would help him better his livelihood in some way, and he needed one. I handed him the keys to the bike.
He mentioned he will need to make a wooden frame on the bike’s frame to hang his bangles. I promised him that after his frame his made, he can come to me and show it to me and we will give him a certain amount to cover the cost of the frame. He nodded his head and put his hand forward to shake mine. Allaha Hafiz, I wished him as he walked away with the bike.

When Zainuddin had arrived, he had smiled at me; he did not smile as he left, because I know that in his heart’s core he was still missing his dead son immensely, like I miss my parents, like someone reading this misses his/her loved one.

Thank you to Munish Aggarwal and Deepti Aggarwal for the new bike you donated to Mani the idli seller; Because its Mani’s used old bike that we donated to Zainuddin.
Thank you to Kohinoor Cycles for the good service.

(Note – My friend and consistent donor, Shekhar Kobrekar, had once told me, ‘Rakesh, let me know if you come across any handicap/challenged person who needs a job; I know of a manufacturer in Vikroli who provides daily wages employment to them, I may be able to help him/her. I will draw the attention of Shekhar to this post, and if he help Zainuddin’s handicap/challenged son get a job, GREAT! )

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34th recipient of livelihood bicycle: – ‘…I was taken aback, because I am not a trained social worker and I am not comfortable or used to seeing men cry at such close quarters, or used to comforting an adult crying, or anyone for that matter…. particularly a complete stranger; so, I simply, …’ – Rakesh.

jaihind milk vegies
Name: Jaihind Kumar. 30.
Profession: Milk man; and delivers vegetables.

Jaihind, is from UP, has lived most of his life in Mumbai, at Chimbai, Bandra west. He works in Bandra west, delivering milk (using a hired bicycle he pays for on monthly basis) in the mornings, and later in the day he delivers vegetables from Pali market. His father has been selling steel and aluminum vessels since childhood, and sells them, laden on a bicycle, even today back in the village. He is married, but his wife has not been living with him because of some personal issues… she lives with her parents, he has been pleading with her to live with him, he says. He has 3 brothers and 4 sisters. Jaihind has managed to get his two sisters married from his own earnings, he says proudly.

I asked Jaihind what has been his biggest suffering so far…? He replied, his father/family was duped by their uncle, his father’s brother, who ‘captured’ (Kabzaa) their house in Chimbai which was a joint family house; and his uncle did not give them any monetary compensation. This happened when he was 15. Moreover, his uncle even refused to pay him the salary he owed him for working for him for over 12 years (as he would keep the money safe with his uncle), and as
Jaihind narrated these events to me he began to cry.

I must add, this was the first time a recipient, a stranger to me too, cried full-fledged tears as he spoke to me of his past sufferings. In the past, when I asked this questions, the eyes of many recipients have turned moist and tear-ry;
This time, I was taken aback, also because I am not a trained social worker and I am not comfortable or used to seeing men cry at such close quarters, or used to comforting an adult crying, or anyone for that matter…. particularly a complete starnger; so, I just stood in silence and looked down and gave him time to gather his composure and his pride.
I guess, my total inability to react, or simply my silence was my own way of holding his hand, at least I hope that’s what he thought of my inaction.

Jaihind was recommended to me by the person he buys milk from, Ramesh Kamble, (to whom we donated a bike last week) who also wholesales milk on Turner road pavement early mornings. Jaihind was happy he was receiving Kamble’s old bicycle, as he has ridden it in the past when his own hired bicycle was not available. He was happy particularly because he considers Kamble as a kind of GREAT human being who has always supported him, particularly when he began in this profession of delivering milk by offering him credit and some customers too.

As he said this I thought to myself, …’if we pause long enough to think back, or ponder in our present, many of us will find such GREAT peeps in our lives, those who offer/offered us ‘credit’, whether it was monetary, or it was their valuable opinion, or their genuine praise, or simply a sincere compliment that made us realize a hidden but great strength in ourselves. God bless such people for gracing our lives.’

Thank you to Shashi C (Sai Seva), Satya H, and Priyanka S C, for donating a new bicycle to Ramesh Kamble; because it’s Kamble’s old bicycle we donated to Jaihind. What a coincidence, this donation to Jaihind happened on 25th January night, the eve of our great Nation’s Republic Day! Jai Hind!

And thank you to Kohinoor Cycles for the good service.

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