80th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : “To ease another’s aches is to forget one’s own.”
Lalsingh Kharwad Rajput.
Lalsingh is from Udaipur district. He is the only child of his parents. This was the first instance I experienced where a recipient, out of the 80 so far, was the only child of his parents. Normally, most of the recipients have had 3 to 7 siblings! One had 9! :p
He mentioned his parents did not have any child after him because they were facing financial difficulties, and had decided to not have anymore and share whatever they could provide with just their one and only child.
However, their financial challenges continued through his childhood, forcing him to leave school after passing the 8th and when he was a teen he had to leave his village to earn a livelihood; He migrated to Mumbai when he was 15-16. It was his parents who advised him to migrate to earn a better livelihood.
Lalsingh smiled throughout his chat with me. In fact, even when I came across him while riding near Nepeansea road, he was smiling and speaking from him first word to me. What a cheery fellow!
His family has always owned agriculture land in the village, and they still do; but the lack of rain and irrigation-canals has prevented them from continuing farming as their source of livelihood. They have perpetually suffered from the lack of water; but last year when they had grown corn, makai, unfortunately it rained so much that their entire crop production was destroyed!
What an irony ya, ‘no water’ and ‘too much of water’, both are fierce-destroyers of not just crops, but even of the hopes, dreams, and ambitions of those who grow and nurture them; not just crushing the raised heads of crops to ground level, but even forcing the unfortunate human victims to impoverishment, forcing many out of the borders of their ancestral homes and towards foreign lands – internal migrations.
His own family consists of two sons and two daughters, all educated. They live in the village, along with his widowed mother; he lives alone at Grant Road at a rented space.
Lalsingh began selling milk ten years ago. He rides 60 to 70 Kms daily, delivering milk to residential and commercial premises in central and south Mumbai. Before he was a milkman, he worked at a Hardware store as an assistant, but did not like the work and left it after almost a decade.
The hardest times he has faced were during his childhood, when agriculture could not feed even three stomachs, and his was just a child’s. He had to leave his village at 15 in search of an employer more dependable than agriculture, one less dependent on the whims and moods of weather.
That’s when he migrated to Mumbai and took up the job at a Hardware store and kept at it for almost a decade, until he chose to be independent, even if he be a milkman.
I asked him, ‘Considering you were forced to leave your studies midway, and your home, your village, because of financial difficulties, now during your middle-age what do you think you would have been able to achieve, had you been a graduate, had you a professional job or if you were running your own business? What would you still like to achieve in spite of the lemons life seemingly gave you?
Lalsingh replied, “If I had been able to complete my education I would have reached a position by now where I would have been able to help people who are unfortunate, and less privileged. And even though I could not do the things I had wanted to, things a child’s mind dreams of, even now I would still like to do something substantial for others with whatever little life has given me so far, or the abundance it may give me in future.
For that, I have identified a couple of less privileged people around me where I reside at Grant Road; and one day I want to help them rise above their unfortunate circumstances. Because it’s our own neighbors that I think we must first help, before we reach out to those further away, correct?
So, I have identified a couple of such unfortunate people where I reside in Grant road; one is homeless, another lives on rent, and I have some other in mind too I can help. I want to be able to do something for them. I don’t know as yet how I will do that, but I am hoping that someday I will reach such a position in life where I will be able to lift others.”
Lalsingh was soon gone. He had turned his back to me and ridden away having received a new bicycle. And even though his back was to me, I could still see his smiling face, and the glint in his eyes when he had sent out his prayer to the Universe – “… Someday I would like to help lift the less privileged around me. Someday…’
Such a being, even though he will walk away from our lives forever, is someone who will take along something with him something eternal, something no one can steal from him, something no one can make him poor of, and that is – our good wishes and our blessings for him to be able to achieve his ambition for social welfare that he continues to harbor within him and which is aimed first at his own neighbors before he reaches out to those of others.
I have met many recipients of our bicycles, like him, who harbored ambitions to help those they consider less fortunate than themselves; and it makes me wonder, ‘What does it take to harbor such ideals of charity when yourself have what many consider ‘little’?
I think the answer may be in something Abraham Lincoln said – “To ease another’s aches is to forget one’s own.”
Thank you to Varsha Kalani for donating this new bike to Lalsingh; He contributed half the cost of the bike.
Varsha was so passionate that we donate a bike on her behalf for her Birthday, which is tomorrow, 20th, I decided to post about her donation today itself, and make her b’day even more joyful for her, and her loved ones. ))
And speaking of loved ones, I recollect what she had told me when I asked her if she would like to dedicate this donation to someone … – “Yes Rakesh, this one is for Adi. ”
Happyyyy Bdayyyy Dear Varsha!
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 sending me his pic.