44th recipient of livelihood bicycle: “…. Saab I have come to return this bike to you; because, I do not have …’
Guddu Yadav (35-36 years old)
Samosa seller. (Samose –wala); Village Benaras, UP.
Guddu looked so weak and frail and was limping when I saw him on the street, I immediately stopped and approached him. I found out he is selling Samosa and Chatni. (A flour and Potato snack) and he has arrived in Mumbai nearly 20-22 years ago. I asked him for exact year of his arrival, and he could not figure the year, but after a little thought he cutely described the period so simply, in terms that really matter for a poor man, ‘I arrived in Mumbai when the train fare from UP to Bumbai was about Rs 200. It is around 400 to 450 now.’ He continued speaking, without me asking him any more questions, – ‘I have no land nor house nor cows in the village, nor do I have a house of my own in this city. I live on rent and my wife works and contributes to the rent and house expenses. My foot is injured and that is why I am limping, the doctor told me he needs to operate on it to make it go away. ’
In the village he would work as a daily wages worker lifting bricks and sand at building and road construction sites, for Rs 50 to 100 for a day’s work. He is uneducated, never been to school. His father too was a construction site laborer, and they are 5 brothers.
Guddu is selling Samosas since 15 years. Before that he used to work in a Milk Dairy and a relative of his who was a Samosa seller introduced him to this profession.
When he told me his income from Samosas, I had no words to express how little some people manage with: he buys one Samosa for Rs 5, sells it for Rs 6, earns Re ONE on one samosa, and that does not include the cost of the Chatni he gives with each and the cost of the paper plate. He sells around 60 in the morning, then goes back to the seller to buy another 60, and before midnite sells them all off. His customers are the livelihood bicycle people who ferry goods on their bikes, the Bhangaarwala (waste goods man) and auto rickshaw and Taxi drivers and Tea sellers, Paan shop owners, and sells them in the lanes of Bandra and Khar.
Guddu has two children, one boy and one girl, both study in a Municipality school.
I asked him when was the most difficult period of his life; he replied ‘My childhood was very difficult to live, because my parents could not educate me and ever since then my life is still a struggle even today. My wife has suffered a heart attack twice because of tension and stress. Even I have a pain in my abdomen and some people say it is appendix, some say I have kidney stones, I do not know what it is but it pains a lot very often. The medicines keep me going. If I do not take the medicines it pains so much that I cannot go to work. This cycle you are giving me will make my life so much easier, I will be able to travel more easily from one lane to another.’
Guddu sticks to the lanes because the Police harass him if he walks on the main road pavements to sell his snacks, but even in the lanes he is harassed so often has to hide when he sees a Police man or Police vehicle. I think because he is an unlicensed hawker he gets into trouble with the cops, I guess. When he said that I thought how sad that some people live their lives just in lanes all life, and never get to the super highways that we rich walk and fly on.
I asked him if he would like to say something to the donor of this bike, Javed Mahadik; he replied, ‘I will pray for him that he be blessed always. As for my profession, I will sell Samosas until there is breath in my body. I will walk until I can walk and do my profession.
A day after I gave him the bike, I left a message with a tea seller and kulfi seller who knows him (because he had mentioned he even sells to them at the corner of Turner road and Perry Road) that I forgot to ask him to give me a copy of his ID card, Election Voting card, etc., so to inform him to give it to my building gateman the next time he passes my street. The very next day, Guddu came over to my building and said, ‘Saab, I have come to return the bike to you.’
I asked him why he is returning the bike; he replied, ‘Saab, I received the message from the tea seller that you need my ID card as proof of my ID; But, Saab I do not have a mobile, I do not have a Ration card, nor do I have any Election Voting card, etc. And if you cannot give me this bike because I cannot give you any proof of my identification, I will return this bike, take it back please, I can manage without it, I have managed well all these years without one.’
I assured him his ID proof is not mandatory, only his need for a bike is.
And as he limped and got on his bike and rode away, I looked at him turn around the corner and disappear, but the thought that then appeared in my mind was – ‘Guddu Samose wala proves to us once again, that many people who we think are just poor beings are also truly rich and honest.’
Thank you Javed Mahadik for donating this bike to him. 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.