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.