89th – Look up at the trees, the branches laden with most fruits and leaves are humbly bent forward.

89 milk shiv

89th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : “Look up at the trees, you will notice that the branches laden heavily with leaves and or fruits are always a little bent, bent forward a little, bent forward in humility.”

Shiv Chandra Singh. (65)

Milkman.

I encountered Shivji in south Mumbai, one early morning on my ride; he was walking, not riding, his dilapidated bicycle, carrying a load of milk packets. I knew then and there, even from the fact he looked aged, I should stop and ask him if he would like a new lease of life for his Ferrari, his old vehicle of trade – his bicycle.

I have preferred to do this, donation, for older people, as I feel it’s a kind of reward for them during their silver years, to receive a new Ferrari at nearly less than half its cost. Yes, their bicycle for them is nothing less than what the Ferrari means to Michael Schumacher!

Shivji has been selling milk since 40 years. He is from Benares, UP. His father was a farmer.

Shivji came to Bombay in 1970 looking for a job, because his familt’s financial condition was not good. He was studying in the second year of senior college when he was forced to leave his studies and migrate to Bombay to supplement the family’s agriculture income.

His elder brother was a milkman in Bombay, and he was keen that he (Shivji) join the same profession, because he was established in it and had a good clientele.

Back in the village, their family owns a little agriculture land and he told me ‘If the weather, nature, and Gods are favorable, we sometimes manage to grow some amount of wheat and rice. This year, like many other years, nature was not favorable to us, so we lost all our standing crops due to lack of rain.’

Shivji has two sons, and one daughter; his daughter and one son are married, and his other son has just graduated and is looking for a job.

Wait till you read this :- Shivji had secured a job with the Indian Navy! Let me repeat this :- Shivji had secured a job with the Indian Navy! Yet, he became a milkman. Not that being a milkman means any less as a profession, because it’s as respectable, but I was very curious to know what changed his professional circumstances from that Navy job to one delivering milk.

And as I probed, I found out it was ‘love’ that made him discard the great opportunity of the Indian Navy job and choose that of being a milkman. It was his elder brother’s love for him, and his love for his brother that was responsible for his choice and decision!

Shivji told me, ‘My brother, even when I was 22, would make me sit on his lap and feed me my meal. That is how much he loved me! So when he requested that I consider taking over his profession, (his brother wanted to return to their village and be a farmer), I accepted his wish. Because I loved his too much to say no to his wish.’

When Shivji spoke to me about his elder brother, he joined his hands as though he was referring to a God! And soon his eyes even turned moist. So deep was this humble man’s love for his brother! I say humble, because to me Shivji came across as amongst the humble recipients I have met so far; he was calm and very dignified too.

To top is all, Shivji has no regret that he turned down the job offer he had received from the Indian Navy, and he told me with immense pride , ‘Saab, Bhai ke pyar ke saamne aur koi cheez nahin, aur kuch nahin!’ (For me nothing can be greater than the love of my brother. Nothing can be greater than the love of a brother.)

Reminds me of a quote – “There was brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that even time could not break. ― Khaled Hosseini’s in his book ‘The Kite Runner.’

This kinship that author Khaled quotes, and even Shivji speaking fondly about his elder brother, reminded me of my own elder brother, Rajesh. The amount of tiny sacrifices he has made, all along, to help even me bloom into the fragrance I desire to be, collectively would amount to the greatest love of my life. God bless my brother.

I asked Shivji, considering he is a family man, what is the best advice he has ever received from family, and he told me : “ Before I came to Bombay, my father told me – Look up at the trees, you will notice that the branches laden heavily with leaves and or fruits are always a little bent, bent forward a little, bent forward in humility. Always remain humble my son, just like those branches that bear the most leaves and fruits a humble mind will always be considered laden with wisdom and knowledge.’

Yes. Live like that and the fruits of your labor will be yours too to have, I thought listening to this wonderful person I felt privileged helping, thanks to our donors.

Thank you to Gunjan Shah for purchasing this new bicycle for Shivji. (Shivji also contributed substantially towards this donation.)
Gunjan messaged me a few weeks earlier, asking if he can donate a bicycle on the wonderful occasion of his son’s birthday, which is on 27th Oct.

Of course, he could, I assured him, since even my sister, Suman, had donated a wheelchair on her birthday earlier this year, and soon later a bike on the anniversary of her Mother in Law. It feels nice that some people want their special day to be special for someone else too; someone unknown to them, and someone they can never benefit from. That is true charity, too.

We all wish Gunjan Shah’s son, Dhairya, (8) a very happy Birthday. Lots of hugs and love to little Dhairya. I wish when he is a little bigger he reads this post and realizes the significance of his father’s real gift to him in this 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.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/
https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

(PS – Rs 3000 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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