42nd recipient of help: What really moves us humans!? And, what is the true value of Rs 450 in these times!
Read on pals… Because, I was shocked, that this recipient of our help was so hesitant, reluctant, scared, insecure, in receiving help of only Rs 450!
Name: Khursheed. Profession – Chakoo Choori Dhaar wala. (Knife sharpener)
Khursheed, 55-60, uneducated, is from Gurgaon. He arrived in Mumbai around 30 years ago, and ever since his arrival he has been a knife sharpener.
Since childhood, the knife sharpener working on a knife has fascinated me! The flying sparks and the spinning steel blade wheel would arrest my attention!
Khursheed could not find any other self employment when he arrived in Bombay to earn a livelihood, and it was the most challenging time of his life as he was very very worried because he says he was uneducated and unskilled and felt he may never be able to support himself or his family. 30 years later, he still owns a few cows in his village, and he used to plough fields before he came to the city.
He has five children, 3 boys and 2 girls. His two sons and two daughters are married. He has educated them all, I think. One son is a Teacher.
He lives at Faras Road (Grant Road) and bicycles to Bandra once a week to sharpen knifes even at Otters Club restaurant kitchens. He only sharpens knives of restaurant kitchens.
I must mention, even though Khursheed agreed for us to spend some money on putting two new mudguards, two new pedals, and a new chain guard, on his very old bike, however, when the shop keeper began working on his bike, he requested that I should be present too. He asked me on the phone to come over to the shop.
I explained I cannot come over right away, and asked him why is he so worried?
He confessed, after much hesitancy, that he is an uneducated man and wants no trouble, and if the shop keeper asks him to pay for the new spares he does not have the money and there will be trouble for him.
The uneducated and poor fear the law so much, maybe because they know they have no Godfathers or bail money to help them if they get in trouble, is what I thought then.
I was shocked, that he was so hesitant, reluctant, scared, insecure, in receiving help of only Rs 450! I think he feared its some con!, or that he will eventually be told by the shopkeeper (Kohinoor Cycles) to pay up for the new spares that we volunteered to fit on his very old bike; spares worth just Rs 450!!!
I felt, that the very poor just do not trust that someone can do something good for them!!! Something good that is worth just Rs 450!!! Maybe, because no one ever does anything for them!!!
I say this, because this was also the experience of Mohamad Yunus, the Noble prize winner and founder of the great Grameen Bank. I read about it in his biography ‘Banker to the poor’; a must read for anyone in the studies of the humanities, social work, and commerce/economics.
Khursheed told me proudly, that before he sharpened knifes with the help of his bicycle, he used to carry the machine on a wooden stool and often his back and shoulder would pain with the weight of the wood and the iron machine and steel blade.
Thanks to a bicycle, the load is off his back and on the Earth now. Thanks to the bicycle he can even cover far larger distances, be rides even till Bandra to visit restaurants to sharpen their knifes weekly. He rides from Grant road to various locations in the city daily. He earns around 300 to 400 a day sometimes.
A day after he received the new spares, he called me up and this is what he said – “Saab, I have never met anyone in my life in either Gurgaon or Bambai, or anywhere in India, who has ever offered me the kind of help you have. You were even ready to buy me a new cycle in exchange of my old one! No one in my life has ever done anything like this for me, nor offered me such help. Never!
(then he paused a while)
Saab, I know we do not get good quality ghee in Bombay or anywhere in this country. But I still have a few cows back home in Gurgaon, and their milk is the best and we make ghee for our home use from their milk. I would like to bring for you home made ghee, from my village, from the milk of my fine cows. Please let me give you some ghee made by my wife. Can I please bring you some Ghee?”
I was in tears even before he finished expressing his extreme gratitude!
I wondered, what had we really done for him?… spent just Rs 450!, on his very old bicycle. That’s all!
For me, that’s the cost of one ticket for a Hindi or English blockbuster film at a multiplex which I have spent so often even on some of the worst films made in the history of cinema!
I told him politely, I cannot accept his kindness, and even if I did in my dreams I would send it across to Farzana Suri, the one who paid for them. He then told me to give his thanks and prayers (Duaa) to Farzana.
What had moved this man? That he was willing to spend as much in gifting me home made ghee! I believe it was not the amount (450 we spent on him) that had touched him, it was the fact that someone was willing to help him better his machine/vehicle of livelihood, it was that someone (a stranger) who had cared about his livelihood, it was that someone (a stranger) who was kind to him, maybe.
You decide what moved him and what moves us humans.
Khuda Hafiz Khursheed Chacha.
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.