112th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : What determines our destiny to be, can anyone beforehand see? What we become, our future, are we predestined to see? Where will roads lead, and bend, until it will for us all end? Hey, destiny calls, just live a life knowing it’s predestined to end.

112 dhobi chediram by vikram seth

112th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :

 

What determines our destiny to be, can anyone beforehand see?

What we become, our future, are we predestined to see?

Where will roads lead, and bend, until it will for us all end?

Hey, destiny calls, just live a life knowing it’s predestined to end.

 

 

Cheddiram Kanojia (57)

 

 

Dhobi (laundry service)

 

 

Cheddiram is from UP. Educated till the 12th Std., he could not study any further because his father, a dhobi, passed away; so Cheddiram had to take in his young hands the reins of running their household.

Afterall, he added, he had a dependent younger brother and sister and his mother to care for being the eldest.

 

 

Being the eldest, he said, he sacrificed his education to look after their family, even though they did not lack money to educate him further. Thereafter, Cheddiram’s mother and he worked the fields now and then, because they owned some amount of cultivable land too, and simultaneously he took up his late father’s profession of a dhobi.

 

 

Martin Luther King, (guru of US President Obama, but whose guru was our very own father of nation Mahatama Gandhi!), believed that progress of a human being is neither automatic nor inevitable. It involves sacrifice and or suffering.

I have believed that every step toward the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in our head requires sacrifice, sometimes suffering, and inevitably struggle. An emotional struggle, if not financial.

 

 

Eventually, someone he knew offered to help him migrate to Mumbai. In Mumbai he began working for someone at a paint factory. However, he could not bear the fumes of paints and decided to be a dhobi, just like his father.

Lucky fellow, I thought, that very early on he preferred the smoke from burning coals (that give us such a perfect crease to our garments!) to the ‘lethal’ fumes of lead in paints that must have taken the lives of thousands of under privileged workers.

Thankfully, since some years now, the use of lead in paints has stopped due to a government imposed ban. Having said that, the smoke from coals also harms, it has caused asthma in many people who use firewood to cook.

 

 

I asked Cheddiram if he believes in God and God’s miracles.

He replied, of course he does! Getting a new bike from us is nothing less than one. His old bike was stolen a month ago and he happened to meet a stranger on the road who recommended him to me.

 

 

Cheddiram was recommended to me by Basant Kumar De, a past recipient we had donated a bicycle to. Basant happened to see Cheddiram walking on the street in Bandra with a load of laundry clothes, and out of concern enquired from Cheddiram why he is not ferrying his laundry on a bicycle, the way most dhobis do?

 

 

On learning that Cheddiram’s (old and rusted!) bicycle was stolen nearly a month ago, Basant called me a few weeks ago to ask if we could help Cheddiram.

What I found commendable about Basant Kumar’s recommendation was that Cheddiram was a stranger to him. Yet Basant helped him. By recommending Cheddiram to us Basant did for him what many of us may rarely experience, but are fortunate when we do – the random kindness of strangers.

 

 

Basant is a very interesting fellow. He was the 43rd recipient of our help, and I suggest you read about him : (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152177306808213&set=oa.357090647765413&type=3&theater),

because his story about how he came to Mumbai and became a paan-leaf (Beatle leaf) seller is absolutely fascinating! His journey from his village to Mumbai is stuff movies are made of!

 

 

I asked him which has been his happiest moments in life.

The happiest Cheddiram has ever been was when his children were born. In his opinion, there can be no greater moment of happiness for a parent than that in which their child emerges into the first dawn of life. The birth of his children has been his happiest moments so far. Money may not remain with you, but your child will, he believes. (He has a son, and daughters. His son helps him in his profession now and then when the need arises, he said proudly.)

 

 

Having said that, Cheddiram is aware that sometimes children betray or abandon their parents, when they or their parents grow older, and they do that not necessarily because their parents have  grown weaker or poorer. There are other dynamics we cannot get into on this forum.

However, that is destiny or fate, and one must survive the consequences and circumstances of a life lived. There is no escape from this maze, until its end.

 

 

What determines our destiny to be, can anyone beforehand see?

What we become, our future, are we predestined to see?

Where will roads lead, and bend, until it will for us all end?

Hey, destiny calls, just live a life knowing it’s predestined to end.

 

 

Thank you to Vikram Seth for donating a new bicycle to Cheddiram. (Cheddiram also contributed substantially, nearly half, towards the cost of his bicycle.)

 

 

I must add, Vikram (and my past donors Ankita, Brijesh, and some others)  told me they made their children read or know about their donation.

 

I too have been sharing every post of Bicycle Angels with some members of my extended family, (I email them) especially those who are affluent, because, it is a first-hand opportunity via their friend and relative (me) to become aware of some of the challenges, hardships and issues the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) survives, often with contentment and happiness.

 

 

I confess, the fact that people like Vikram, Brijesh, Ankita, Gunjan, and some others share these posts with their children, it gives me an additional motivation to go out there and ride or walk and do that little bit which we all hope can make a small difference, if not a big one, in someone’s life.

 

 

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. 🙂 )

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