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! )