73rd recipient of help (livelihood bicycle): “After all my day long struggles, when I return home weary, hopeless, and my daughter runs to me and shouts excitedly “papa papa’, I am the happiest in those moments. So I feel the happiest, daily.”
Amit Kumar Sahu (33)
Sells Kulfi and Falooda (at a street corner, on a four-wheel-handcart.)
Amit is from Bihar. He has two sisters and two brothers. His two sisters are married, and he and his brothers financed their weddings. Because his father lost his mental stability when Amit was in the 10th standard, and being the eldest son he had to stop studying and begin earning a livelihood.
Ever since then, he has worked every day of his life. His father is still mentally incapable to work, and he continues to send money home to his parents regularly; so do his two brothers. All 3 sons continue to support their nearly mentally invalid father.
Amit arrived in Mumbai around ten years ago to work at his close relatives house in his uncle’s cloth color-dyeing business. He worked there for five years until it shut down. His uncle still owes him a large portion of his salary of five years which he has not paid him.
While he was working with his uncle, his uncle had advised him “Do not take your complete salary from me. Take just enough for yourself and your family back in the village. The rest I will give it to you whenever you ask for it.’ Amit trusted him. When his uncle shut down his dyeing business doe to losses, he refused to pay him his five years of savings.
The lesson Amit learnt from this incident, and some other similar incident, – Never trust family or strangers 100 percent. Always safeguard your interests, whatever he your relationship with the person you dealing with! No one is worthy of your 100 percent trust!!
Amit began this kulfi-falooda business because he knew nothing else or anything better. After his uncle’s cloth dyeing business shut down, he worked at a place where they manufactured ice cream and kulfi, falooda, so that is the business he decided to start to be independent. He does not make the stuff he sells, but buys it from the person he once worked for. From the varieties he sells, his own favorite kulfi is the chocolate flavor. He said to me ‘Ladees log ko chocolate ice cream bahut pasand aata hai.’
Amit sells his goods at the street corner at Nalasopara/Virar; the biggest problem he faces is not from the Police or BMC, but from the local goondas and taporis, as they never pay for the stuff they consume. And he dare not ask them for money, as he fears for his business and life if he antagonizes them in any manner.
However, he said this all to me with a smile. He justified his nonstop smiling through his interview by telling me, ‘I do not want to show to anyone that I have problems. I rather always smile, whatever be the challenge or provocation. See. Its also a survival skill you learn when you work, sell stuff, on the streets.’
Amit needed a bicycle to take his daughter to school daily. He takes her to school and brings her back home too. He can do that because his working hours are from early evening to late midnight. His goods sell mostly only in the evenings.
He had an old bicycle he used for this purpose, but a month ago it was stolen, so he now walks his daughter to school which is about one kilometer away. The bike was also of great use to him to cart portable water home every morning, from a site that is around 2 Kms from his house. He lives at Nalasopara.
Though Amit does not need a bike for earning his livelihood, I felt he is worthy of receiving the old bike that we got in exchange from the previous recipient of a new bike (that was donated by K and Surabhi Shah.) Amit willingly agreed to contribute a donation of Rs 500 for receiving this old bike. We will add this amount of Rs 500 he will soon pay to our kitty to buy a new one someday for someone worthy.
I asked Amit which has been is happiest moment of his life so far? When has he felt the happiest ever?
His reply, “After all my day long struggles, when I return home weary, hopeless, and my daughter runs to me and shouts excitedly “papa papa’, I am the happiest in those moments. So I feel the happiest, daily.”
Amit was such a positive fellow, I really liked speaking with him. Thanks to my Bhel wala, Chaurasia, he brought to my attention that his neighbor (Amit) needs a bike because….
Thank you to K and Surabhi Shah for donating a new bike to Nazar-Battu Shankar; we donated Shankar’s old bike to Amit Sahu the Kulfi Falooda wala. (I could not take a pic of Amit with the bike, as it was raining heavily when he came over to take this bike yesterday.)