104th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : This is not an accidental universe.
Manoj Kumar Chaurasia (34)
Manoj is from Benares, UP. He has been living in Mumbai since 8 to 9 years. He arrived here because he had to earn a livelihood for his family, his father is a farmer and could not sustain his family on their agriculture income. He was in the 8th standard in school when his father could no longer afford to pay his school fees, so, Manoj had to drop out of school.
Incidentally, Manoj’s son is in the 8th standard today, and Manoj is determined his son will not suffer the same fate and be the first one in their family to study beyond the 8th! And by the grace of God, he adds, become a graduate one day.
My own father was 8th std ‘failed’ he would say, and he was determined that I be a graduate, so I could relate to Manoj’s ambition for his children,
Manoj spent a few minutes talking to me about his life, and though he knew it’s a very significant ‘interview’ he was being subjected to, because the result would mean he will probably receive the donation of a new bicycle; (for which he too was willing to contribute nearly half the cost).
yet, and I was glad for that, his mind was constantly preoccupied by his duties to his profession, because he kept getting up every few minutes!, and his body language clearly spoke to me saying ‘Bro, hurry up ya, I have to go earn my son’s school fees, ya. I need to educate him beyond what I was unfortunate to receive.’
So I let him off as soon as I could, which I rarely do, as he had immense value for his professional time, and that made me respect him even more.
Manoj resides at Nalasopara and sells Bhel near carter road. He has two sons and a daughter, all go to school. He was recommended to me by my Bhel wala who sells bhel on Perry cross road.
Manoj needed a livelihood bicycle so that he can use it to travel on it to fetch his ingredients daily from the market which is many kms from his house. He also will use the bicycle to carry water every morning from Virar to Nalasopara, a few kms away, as they have to buy water every single day for their household consumption. So far he brings the water cans on his head and shoulders which ache and get sore with the weight.
Moreover, Manoj needs the bike for his son who walks to school from Nalasopara to Virar or sometimes takes the public transport. This bike will help the family save some money. Furthermore, his son will also use it to travel to an evening workshop which he attends to learn the profession of being an Electrician.
A deserving family, I thought, as I listened to him (speak in such a hurry as he was just waiting to run away so he can go sell Bhel! He kept getting up every few minutes to leave! Hahahahaha!)
He was very surprised, bewildered, that someone is willing to contribute almost half towards donating him a new bicycle, as no one had made him such an offer before.
So I asked him if he does charity now and then, and if he does, then what does he do, how does he help the unfortunate?
Manoj replied, “Often, I offer Bhel to destitute I see on streets. They are not beggars, but I feel I can help them in this way. Or, when I am travelling from Nalasopara to Khar by train, I often give money to the poor who ask for alms in local trains.”
I told him, “At your own level you too are doing charity. Don’t you realize that? When you offer Bhel to people who you consider less privileged, and those who are not beggars and did not ask you for help, did not ask you for alms, that amounts to charity. Most significantly, true charity, because you will never benefit from it. The kind of people you help can never possibly do anything back for you, so that’s true charity on your part.
Furthermore, you just told me a while back, that you are a Hindu and believe in God and in the traditions of Hinduisms and in Karma. The fact that my Bhel wala recommended you, the fact that I found you worthy, do you think that the fact you got this new bicycle from us is what you earned from your own good karma? So, why are you surprised!? Yes! You had already earned this bike, long ago Bro. Your karma manufactured this bike for you. My donors simply handed it out to you like a retailer.”
This is when Manoj cried.
Why? I am clueless. Maybe he felt rewarded for some random good acts of his, I think. Maybe most people’s goodness, random acts of kindness, charity, kindness, goes unrewarded. And when it is appreciated, acknowledged, and rewarded, their tears burst to the surface from a place where they remained buried for just too long.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you got to trust that the dots will connect in your future. You have to trust in something – be it your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever be your religious beliefs. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” @ Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs said that. And it will make all the difference in the lives of others, is what I would add to his wisdom. The energy you release in this world, will come back to greet, meet, and eventually embrace you. So make the choices accordingly. This is not an accidental universe.
Thank you Mrs and Mr Thadani for donating this bicycle to Manoj. He too contributed substantially towards it. We thank you, because it is in your honor, out of immense love for you, that your daughter, Prachi, wished to donate a bicycle to someone needy and worthy, on her birthday this December.
(Happy Bday dear Prachi. I could not locate someone in time, before your Bday, and that’s why this donation on their behalf got delayed a bit. )
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 3000 is what it takes to donate a new bicycle; yes, because the balance, 2000 to 2500, is contributed by the recipient. 🙂 )