55th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘I remember, when I would eat my meals, my father would share his meal with me, he would put food from his plate into mine. (then, Bimal paused, I realized he has gone further back into his memories, some most fond memory) …. And, ….’
Bimal Adak. (17)
Bimal has been selling flowers since two years, he assists his elder brother Shyamlal Adak, they sell flowers on the corner of perry cross road, bandra west. Shyamlal is an earlier recipient of a new bicycle, he had given us his old bicycle in exchange of a new one we donated to him. But, Shyamlal’s new bicycle was stolen two weeks ago from outside their house in the night. They were all so sad when they informed of the theft, we had to help them, I felt. They are 4 young adults who survive on the income from this one pavement stall of flowers, and the bicycle they need will be shared between the four of them to now and then; to buy flowers from Dadar west flower market daily and to deliver flowers to their customers. I thought I’ts important we donate at least a used bicycle to Bimal, with the thought that it will help sustain the growth of four young adults earning from a single business.
He is from Kolkatta, and his parents do house work and also live on agriculture income from their own little bit of land and also work on agriculture land belonging to others. He is educated till the 8th standard but could not study any further because they did not have the money for the fees. One challenge they face often is that the BMC carts away their flowers and then they have to pay a fine/penalty to get back their trade goods.
I asked him when has faced the most difficult time in his life?, he replied, ‘Thankfully, I have not faced any very bad times, my elder brother has always taken care of our problems. Even now my brother sends money home every month to our parents.’
I asked him about the happiest times he has had?, he replied, ‘My happiest times were when I was a child, I would play and have so much fun. Now I only work, no time for any play. I remember I would play cricket too.’ (As he said that, I realized how super privileged many of us are, that we have the super luxury of work and play, often both quite well balanced. I hope he can revisit those fun days as an adult someday.)
Shyamlal purchased an old used bicycle, and since Dr Satish Gupte, my neighbor, had donated to our initiative, I handed his donation to Bimal; the other half cost of the bicycle was paid by Shyamlal himself. Later that evening, Bimal gave Mr and Mrs Gupte a beautiful two roses bouquet as his thanks for their kindness.
I asked Bimal, other than the days of his childhood, what else does he remember or miss about home?. He replied, ‘‘I remember, when I would eat my meals, my father would share his meal with me, he would put food from his plate into mine. (then, Bimal paused, I realized he has gone further back into his memories, some most fond memory) …. And I remember that my mother would walk me to school. I miss that. I miss them both, living so far from them.’
Right then, I had to stop questioning him, because he was not the only one who was interrupted by tears. I miss my mother too, she would walk me to school, my hand in her firm yet soft hands. I had always longed to see her in the recess break, not for the tiffin of food, but her eyes, how they longed to see me, everyday in my recess break she looked at me as though we had been parted since many months.
Thank you Mrs and Mr Satish Gupte for helping these four resilient young adults, who had suffered a theft, buy a used bicycle for their trade.