114th recipient – If you are faced with mountains, you have several options.

Bal Reddy

114th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :

“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options:
You can climb it and cross to the other side. 🙂
You can go around it. 🙂
You can dig under it. 🙂
You can fly over it. 🙂
You can blow it up! 😉 🙂
You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there. 😉
You can turn around and go back the way you came. 😦
Or, you can stay on the mountain and make it your home!” :p 🙂

Bal Reddy (33)


Reddy is from Hyderabad. His father is a farmer, (owns around two to three acres of agriculture land) and when he was a child their bore well could not supply the quantity of water they needed to cultivate their land, mainly due to inadequate rainfall in the region, so the meager income from agriculture was not enough to even feed their family. In these circumstances, further education was simply not an option for the children.

Often, in many rural families dependent on agriculture, most often, crying or migrating to better pastures are the only options when the clouds fail to deliver to their prayers. So, post his 4th standard, Reddy migrated to Mumbai, when he was 12, to supplement the family’s income for the marriage expense of his sister.

With immense pride he informed me, his first job as a tea-boy, chaiwala, earned him Rs 300 a month. He smiled. I smiled along with him. Before he started delivering milk to households, he even worked as a domestic help wiping floors of homes.

I liked this fellow already, helping out his sister, his family, in their hour of need, and I was happy we were helping him, in our own tiny way, to better his livelihood prospects.
(I came across Reddy at 5 am one morning, while on my bicycle ride. His bicycle was old and junked, and I offered to buy him a new one if he was willing to contribute nearly half towards its cost. Thankfully, he agreed.)

After he began working as a tea-boy, Reddy happened to befriend a Maharashtrian, and this man advised him to deliver milk to households, as that will help him earn more money than selling tea. Reddy accepted his advice, and today, after more than a decade of being a milk seller, he says he is earning enough to help his family back in the village. However, though he is independent and hard working, he harbors a regret. 😦

A regret that he did not have the opportunity to study further, because of which, he says, he is having a very hard time finding a suitable woman willing to marry him, an ‘uneducated’ man! However, Reddy has not given up hope, and keeps the faith his parents and or relatives will eventually find him a suitable bride back home. One who will not regret marrying an
‘uneducated’ man like him, I think.

Life is about choices. Some we will come to regret, some we will be very proud of. Some will haunt us forever. But choices we MUST make, without thinking of the outcomes beforehand. 🙂

To help Reddy begin his milk delivery ‘business’, beyond the Maharashtrian fellow, one of his employers, a woman he worked for at Bandra west as a domestic help, gave him Rs one lakh to buy a bicycle, and invest the remaining however he thought best in the milk delivery profession.

And the Maharashtrian acquaintance who had advised him to begin the milk delivery profession, himself a milk man, gave him all his clients before leaving for better prospects in the Middle East. These two major acts of kindness stabilized Reddy financially in Mumbai! The fortunes of the chaiwala and floor-sweeper changed soon. God Bless them.

There are so many silent angels flying through our wonderful city, who do what they think they must, and unlike us do not or cannot blog about what they do. Having said that, I am very glad we blog what we do. I believe it is very important to share, to spread information, about our tiny acts of charity and or kindness, even those not instrumented by us, share information about others who do things for people they cannot benefit from.

Because, kindness is bloody infections! Moreover, just like evil impacts the mind negatively, Kindness impacts our mind positively. So sharing the good that is going around is one of the ways to counter the negativity that does the rounds even from the news that pours out of the press and Tv headlines so often. Yes, sensationalism sells. But Kindness, does not suck! Let it be known!! 🙂

And this is one reason I always encourage some of my ‘shy’ donors to allow me to mention their names in my post, so that even some people they know, who happen to read about their humble acts of kindness and charity, just may be inspired to emulate them and someday do their own bit of goodness in their own way sometime, somewhere.

After all, I too was inspired to donate livelihood bicycles to people who use bicycles to ferry their goods of trade not just when I began noticing them when became a bicyclist, but also because I happened to read a blog Campus Bicycle Project, who were donating bicycles to rural underprivileged school children to ride to school. If they can help children I thought, why can’t I help somebody too, and eventually decided to donate a ‘livelihood’ bicycle, to a tea seller with the help of a few my donor friends. That one random donation we made together somehow one day founded Bicycle Angels.

Reddy too in his own humble but significant way has helped people from his village settle in Mumbai. On seeing their financial plight he helped them find jobs. Reddy passed on the kindness he had received from the Maharashtrian acquaintance, and even from his ex-employer who gave him one lakh to begin his start up.
I do hope a man like Reddy finds a good bride who sees the positives in him, and does not judge him from his one and only regret his limited education.

Honestly, I can empathize with him, because I myself am not a graduate, having left my Computer Engineering (Mumbai University) Degree course in the second year. 😉 And I suffered from an inferiority complex for very long for not being a ‘product’ of University education 😦

I began to feel ‘adequate’ only when I came to the movies in my early 30’s, I began reading lots of fiction and nonfiction, educating myself through books, especially biographies, and even stories of people who had never been to college and yet they had earned immense respect, happiness and fame for themselves. These people had shared their lives in their biographies with us.
For me, your kindness can be in you sharing yourself through your biography, I believe, of a life inspiring. Because I benefitted from their lives without ever having met them.

I hope many of us can live such a life that one day an inspiring biography be written on us. Only so that there be more inspiration going around, and this tsunami of inspiration drown the negative news doing the rounds.

Just like Bal Reddy is doing; riding his way ahead on a bicycle laden with milk, providing not just his family a better standard of living, but somewhere along the way inspiring us too who will happen to read this post about his challenges and the manner in which he found paths out of the maze that showed up on his journeys. When a friend of his cheated his (Reddy’s) clients of a large amount of money, Reddy paid off the debt, so that his clients continue to take milk from him (Reddy) and not abandon him because of what his friend did to them using his (Reddy’s) good reputation.

So, just like most cyclists Reddy always climbed the hills and mountains that came in his path, since the age of 12. We cyclists rarely walk up steep hills, even if we have to go on the lowest gear we won’t get off our bikes, we will stand on the pedals and put our weight behind them to rise up the slopes slowly but surely! We have the Reddy-(ready) spirit I guess! 🙂

People like Reddy, and many others like him whose biographies will probably never be written to be shared with the world, can be paid a tribute in this verse:
“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options:
You can climb it and cross to the other side. 🙂
You can go around it. 🙂
You can dig under it. 🙂
You can fly over it. 🙂
You can blow it up! 😉 🙂
You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there. 😉
You can turn around and go back the way you came. 😦
Or, you can stay on the mountain and make it your home!” :p 🙂
― Vera Nazarian, (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)

One particular moment from my meeting with Reddy stands out for me; Reddy’s father telling him, quite lately, that he does not want Reddy to remain in the city any longer.
They (his parents) want Reddy to return home to the village soon, and to get married and settle down in the village, and cultivate the land. It does not matter that they will have far less money by him not working in Mumbai anymore, but his mother and he can do with less monies but not without their son by their side, especially now that they are getting old … This is what I gathered from their conversation.
Reddy is considering returning to his village to be with his parents, though not soon, he says.

This emotional exchange reminded me of a song written by my father, from the film Naam; the father is pleading with his son, who has migrated, to return home asap. They rather have their son with them than his dollar remittance. (The last verse says “Aaja umar bahut hai choti, apne ghar mein bhi hai roti… Chitti aayee hai, aayee hai, Chitti aayee hai…).

Here is the link to that amazing song that some of you will be familiar with: Chitti Aayee Hai Watan Se Chitti Aayee Hai – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiCNg8BTH-s (for Hindi songs lovers 🙂 )

Thank you to Prakash RV for donating this new bicycle to Reddy. Reddy contributed nearly half towards its cost.

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. 🙂 )


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