92nd recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : ‘Your life begins to change the day you also take responsibility for the life of some others.’
Manoj Sahu. (18)
Manoj is from Bihar. He is living in Mumbai since 4 years. He could not educate himself after the 7 std., because his father suffers from some kind of mental illness and could not provide adequately for his family thereafter.
Being the eldest child of the house, Manoj had to take the reins of the family’s livelihood chariot from his father, and run the show thereafter. After all, he has 3 younger brothers and sister too, he reasoned.
Steve Maraboli said: “Your life begins to change the day you take responsibility for it.”
It rings true for Manoj, because even with his humble earnings (a ‘tea’ seller/Chai wala) he is able to remit enough money home every month to educate his 3 younger brothers and sister, all of whom I feel had probably lost their chance at an education, the very chance that Manoj himself lost when he was only in the 7 th Std. Manoj took the reins of his life and that of his family in his young hands, but not feeble, is what is truly great.
I can add one more thought to Steve’s above quote: “And your life begins to change the day you also take responsibility for the life of some others.” And I would put people who do charity in this extraordinary category too, like even my cousin Dabs, who donated this bicycle to Manoj. She thought of doing something herself, to see the change she wanted to see around her. Like one of our country’s prime leader had said – ‘You are the change!’
I can say this, that a truly great being is one who does for his family, or strangers, the very thing that destiny denied him or her; he or she takes a step forward out of love, optimism, and not a step back or sideways out of bitterness or selfishness. Even when he or she is simply a humble ‘tea’ seller/Chai wala; not selling tea in a five star hotel, but simply on our streets, without a license, without even one square feet of land to claim as his own.
Manoj was recommended to me by a coconut seller on carter road, who sells coconuts from a handcart next to otters club, even though they were not related he helped Manoj; the kindness of random people in our cities is incalculable. However, on second thoughts, Manoj and the coconut seller are related, I say, because – Don’t they both fend for a livelihood on our streets?
I think, a bond of brotherhood grows between people who, literally, live off our streets. A selfless-bond, which one may not find quite often in people living much higher up the food chain, closer to the clouds.
So often I have heard some people, of my class, (if I may be forced to bracket myself in context to this) think and sometimes even state: ‘Arre lekin issme mera kya faida hoga?! toh main usski help kyun karoon?’ (But why should I help him/her, when it is not going to benefit me in any way!?)
However, I could be wrong about this; Well, I hope so.
His father still does some amount of agriculture, and together they are somehow managing to maintain their dignity and the money needed for the school fees.
Currently, Manoj does not own a bicycle, and having one will help him improve his business, because he can travel to more areas and make more sales.
The amazing thing about Manoj, which made him even more deserving for this donation, he feeds tea to the very poor, the destitute, on our streets, often and nearly daily.
His random deeds of kindness reminded me of my own very first short-film I made when I was at film school in London; and if I may please share it with some of you, here is the link to my short film :
I asked Manoj, ‘You say your father has some mental problems, (half-mad, is how he described him to me) and often loses his mind; yet, is there something he told you, while you were growing up, or when you came to Mumbai, which you feel was his most precious advice ever to you….?’
Manoj replied, ‘Yes. My father still tells me, and so had my Mother, “Son, whatever you do to earn a living, do not steal, do not tell lies, do not be violent, do not abuse and hurt anyone. Just do your work and live peacefully with one and all.”’
Such sane advice his father gave him, made me wonder – what could have been the suffering of a man like him who gave such sane advice, and yet one day lost his mind?!
Can the fact that a man, (considering men do feel the pressures of bringing bread on the table, yes, even many women do that too.) lose his mind when he faces defeat after defeat, and day by day comes closer and closer to his own truth that he may lose this ‘race’ of life, not be able to even clothe his loved ones!!?
I shuddered as I thought of some of my own failures in business, and thank God I had a father who bailed me out. What had he not been my father!? Thank you dear universe, and thank you Daddy, and God.
Thank you to respected and Late Mrs Rachna Devi Kehr, in whose blessed memory my cousin sister Dabs donated this bicycle to Manoj. Even Manoj contributed substantially towards the purchase of this new bicycle donated to him.
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 Gazi.
(PS – Rs 3000 is what it takes to donate a new bicycle; yes, because the balance, 2000 to 2500, is contributed by the recipient. 🙂 )