71st recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : ‘Dignity and pride in your work, is in your hands, not in that of others.’
Mahandra Pratap Sahu (25) – Fruit delivery.
Mahandra is a post graduate, in M.A., (in Ancient History and Civilizations). This was the first time, out of 70 recipients so far, we encountered a post graduate riding a livelihood bicycle to earn a living as a fruit delivery person!
I enquired about the efforts he has made so far for a mainstream job post his education. He informed me, while he was in his village, two years ago, he applied for a job in just a couple of places, but being unsuccessful he soon travelled to Mumbai and took up the job of delivering ordered fruits door to door.
Currently he is employed with a man who owns a fruit handcart in Bandra, and he earns a monthly salary of Rs 5000. He remits a large portion of it home to his family in UP.
Mahandra arrived in Mumbai around a year ago and found a job delivering fruits with a relative who owns a handcart. I realized he has put in a just a handful of applications for a job. I told him he has certainly not tried hard enough for a better job, in keeping with his education level, and I hope he will continue to send more applications for a job.
Honestly, I think he gave up too early, he stopped trying for a job too early.
Back in the village, he has two brothers, one runs a mobile repair shop, and the other is still studying. The family has some agriculture land and they grow grains and vegetables. However, the income from agriculture is not enough to sustain their family, so he came to Mumbai.
His best customer is someone at band Stand, they never bargain and also give him a tip for every delivery. His boss has told him, ‘Since the money you collect from customers is with you until you hand it to me, if en route you are hungry you can spend some of it and eat, do not hesitate to spend some of it on food.’ Customers do not buy Bananas that have a broken top, so that is the ones he eats when he is hungry, and they also offer it to the poor they come across on streets. That, is their bit of charity, I guess.
His happiest times are once a year, when he travels to his village for a month or two. That is the same time all his close relatives from wherever they live in India, they head for their village. They all gather to live together as one big joint family then. He works along with his family on their agriculture land in that period.
His grandfather is the one he was the closest to. It is he (his grandfather) who educated him, paid for his education and that of his siblings. He expired three years ago and he (Mahandra) misses him a lot.
He feels, if his grandfather were alive now he would have not been working as a fruit delivery boy. Because, he was a resourceful and influential person, and he would have been able to get Mahandra a mainstream job post his graduation. The best lesson his grandfather gave him was never to fight with anyone, never ask anyone for money, for a loan, even if it for education.
Mahandra has done a course in welding too, and that is another profession he can follow if need be. He did get an offer of a job as a welder at a monthly salary of Rs 12, 000 but because he did not have any welding experience he could not get the job.
I asked him if he still has hope alive within for a mainstream job? He replied, ‘I do. I am hoping that someday some big Seth whom I deliver fruits to, if he happens to belong to my community may offer me a job in his office or business.
I asked him if he feels embarrassed sometimes being a MA pass but delivering fruits on a bicycle. He replied without any embarrassment or hesitation, ‘I rather earn a honest living than sit at home and be fed by another or be in a state of no work.’
True. We must have self-pride in any honest work we undertake for a living. Dignity and pride in your work, is in your hands, not in that of others.
Reminds me of : “Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.” – Aristotle.
“No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” – Booker T. Washington
Thank you to Vinay Datt for donating this new bicycle to Mahandra. Mahandra shared half the cost of the bicycle, because I asked him to and he was most willing.
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. Thank you to Gazi Ali for the photo.