69th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘So for me my customers are God. All of them. All my customers are equally good. And all of them are equal like all Gods are.’
Anil Varma. (19)
Anil approached me sometime last year, for a new bicycle in exchange of his old one. I had to refuse him, because his old bike’s frame was (broken) welded in two places, and we cannot possibly donate a broken-frame to anyone, however poor the needy.
Anil’s bike was stolen a few days ago, I found that out from the man I buy fruits from; so I asked him to send Anil to me, provided he (Anil) was willing to bear half the cost of the new bicycle; Anil agreed to bear half the cost of the bike.
Anil is from UP, he arrived in Mumbai three years ago, because his family needed money. They own some amount of agriculture land back in the village, but farming is not enough to sustain their family. Anil has two younger brothers and three sisters, one sister is married. His siblings go to school.
He earns a monthly salary of 3500, and sends 2000 to his parents. 1500 is enough for him to sustain himself in Mumbai. He lives with his Boss, the man who owns the fruit business, and his meals are provided by his boss.
Anil delivers fruit orders to their customers all over Bandra and Khar. Since his old bicycle was stolen, he delivers fruits on foot. The tips that few customers offer him when he delivers fruits to their doorsteps is the bonus he looks forward to but earns not so often. I find it strange, that we willingly tip Rs 50, 100, and some people tip 500 Rupees to the valet who parks our car at restaurants, cinema halls, 5 Star Hotels, but we may be often forgetting to tip the fellow who bicycles to us to deliver our fruit, veggies, house provisions, etc., orders.
I asked him about his working hours. He replied, he works 6 days a week, from 6 am to around 1 pm and then from 4 pm to 10.30 pm. He gets Sundays off, and on that day he washes his clothes and cleans his house. He gets hardly an hour to 30 minutes to leisurely roam around on Sundays. It made me think of how most of my friends, or I, spend our Sundays. I spend Sundays riding with my friends or sometimes alone, and then the rest of the day I catch up with family or dear friends, or books, movies, theatre, or lost sleep. Blessed are we, indeed.
I asked Anil about the happiest moment in his life so far?
He replied, ‘Not any really, so far. But I do feel happy when my parents are happy. See, if they are sad, if they are not doing well, if they are unhappy how will I be happy, how can I be happy?’
I asked him, who is his best customer, and why so?
He replied, ‘All customers are good. It is from them that I earn my salary and tips. So for me my customers are God. All of them. All my customers are equally good. And all of them are equal like all Gods are.’
When Anil equated his customers being equal to God, (in the sense that for many their customers are like God to them, a ‘provider’ to them… and that all Gods are equal…), it made me think of the many people who preach about their religion, their Holy book, their God/s, their prophet, the heaven or hell they claim to have foreknowledge of, etc (and some of these people are self- proclaimed saints or Gods too :p ) ; I wondered how many of them would publicly agree with Anil, that their God, the path they point to, the road they have chosen, is equal to those taken by other travelers?
I humbly believe, there is a ‘temple’ of God in each of us. Even in those who do not believe in Him, and in those who continue to seek proof of, or a reason for, His light, His energy, His existence.
Thank you to ‘K’ for donating, for ‘providing’, a new bicycle to Anil; Anil shared almost half the cost of his new bicycle.
And thank you to Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good discount and service. And Thanks to Gazi Ali for the photo.