84th recipient – ‘There is no exercise better for the human heart than pulling someone up.’

Dhobi shiv shankar

84th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : ‘There is no exercise better for the human heart than pulling someone up.’

Shivshankar Nirmal. (age- 45 plus )

Dhobi/Laundry services.

Shivshankar is from near Lucknow, UP; he resides in Bandra west, at Kantwadi village. His family continues to live in UP.

He is not educated formally, but says confidently can sign his name. The reason he could be formally educated being, their need for food overwhelmed that for the alphabet.

Shivshankar has two sons, and three daughters out of which only one daughter is married, the other two are in school, one post school. He had a very poor opinion of the government schools back in his village, saying their standards are pathetic, so they cannot possibly promise their students even a remote chance at a better future by way of it.

Shivshankar arrived in Mumbai in 1984.
He told me, ‘It is poverty that makes people like us migrate to the cities. Someone or the other, mostly known to us, takes pity on our condition, and to help us he takes us with them to the city where he works. A city that can potentially provide us a good chance at earning our livelihood.
That’s how I came here, with my father’s relative, he was a Dhobi in Bandra, and I lived and worked with him. He taught me the profession.’

Hmmmmmm So, it was his uncle who helped Shivshankar rise from the hole that his circumstances presented him at birth. His uncle, I believe, had a healthy heart.

Why healthy?, well, I guess, if you aren’t the athletic or cyclists kind, nor the ‘spinning’ or ‘yogic’ kind, then there is no exercise better for the human heart than pulling someone up to a higher level, na? 

Shivshankar’s father had tilled land belonging to others, a daily wages farm laborer. His family never owned land of their own, but with all four sons getting established, as Dhobis, over a few decades the family managed to pool their resources and purchase some amount of land of their own, back in the village, to cultivate and live on, and thus better their standard of living.

The fact that Shivshankar managed to earn enough, not just to feed and educate his family and look after his parents, but also to buy a land they can call their very own, is the happiest realization of his life’s efforts so far, he told me when I asked him about his happiest moment in life so far.

That was such a great reward to his work, I thought to myself, that Shivshankar could put his earnings to such use, building from it, over a period of time, an immoveable asset! Now who does not want to built immovable assets in their lifetime!

Of course, build assets other than those we carry within; some will believe that the assets within us are the ‘moveable’ kind, those that will transmigrate with us to our next birth. This of course being only for those who keep the faith in religious doctrines that preach the transmigration of the soul as our most-probable ‘eternal destiny’. 

Thank you to Pooja and Bhavin Sanghvi, for purchasing this new bike for Shivshankar, he contributed more than half towards the cost of the same.

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.


(PS – Rs 2500 is what it takes to donate a new bicycle; yes, because the balance, 2000 to 2500, is contributed by the recipient. J)


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