123rd recipient – Serendipity

123 Dhobi Shravan Kumar Nirmal

123rd recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :

“Was this all just a dream
From the mind of a deity
Or is it nothing more than it seems
And just a long case of serendipity.”

Shravan Kumar Nirmal (50-55)

Dhobi (laundry service)

Shravan is from UP.
His bicycle was stolen a few days ago. He roamed the streets a couple of days to test his luck, he was hopeful he may come across his stolen bike. His luck and the bike, both evaded him.

Exhausted and hopeless, the three people he approached for assistance in helping him find a good condition second hand bicycle (one was a bicycle shop near his house, and the other was a fruit seller, and the third a flour mill worker) all three informed him about us. I was surprised!
They told him that we people may be able to help him buy a new one, provided he too contribute substantially towards its purchase. That is how he arrived at our threshold. Naturally, I welcomed him.

Shravan is educated until the tenth class, and his father was a Dhobi too. He has two brothers and two sisters and all are settled and married. He has four children, out of which one is a special child.

Shravan had wanted to be a soldier, work in the Military, and he applied for the job too. But due to some medical problems his medical examination got delayed, because of which he missed the eligibility period by three days! Three sunrises, three sunsets, set the sun on his childhood dream of serving the nation, he lamented.

While he spoke about his defeated dream, I remembered my own past. I too had wanted to join the armed forces. The NDA. National Defence Academy, near Pune. When I approached them to fill the application form, they told me to return post the 12th standard. After I finished the 12th, I went back to them to apply, and on seeing my date of birth they told me I was overage by less than a year. Those few words spoken softly by the officer sounded louder than a fighter plane crash to me. Because, my dream to become a fighter pilot had just got grounded forever.

So I could empathise with the ambush of Shravan’s dream by his destiny, as he sat in front of me eyes cast downwards in silence.
However, soon, new dreams took wings, and I was on my own flight to becoming an Electronics Engineer. Even Shravan, put the crash of his military dream behind him, and adapted to his father’s profession, and since then he has been a Dhobi. No regrets now, as the profession has given him a life of good monetary worth and respect.

Though Shravan could not wear the military uniform, he remains fiercely patriotic. He had very strong views on why our politicians do not give our neighbour a fitting reply, when our soldiers are killed by them in unprovoked firing, or killed by terrorists from abroad and from within our own home.

Even now, at this stage of his life, when he has left far behind his dream of wearing the uniform, if we were to hand him a rifle, I thought, he has the will and courage to send our enemies a formidable messenger from his blazing rifle! His patriotic spirit said:

Oh, my dear nation, I feel that I still have cause,
To protect your borders, even if my life were to halt or pause.
Tirelessly serve you, loyal I am sure to be,
I will seek your safety on bended knees.
I wish neither to hurt, nor harm nor kill nor die,
Though from engagement with an enemy I’ll not shy.
For if my duty calls me here or there,
I’ll still do whatever I must more than ably dare.
– Anon.

Shravan continued to speak….. towards the end of our meet told me he has a ‘mentally challenged, or what most term as ‘handicapped’ child. The child is growing older, he is 9 now, and because he can neither speak nor walk they have to carry him thrice a week to Haji Ali, KEM, and other places for his physiotherapy. He is getting heavier as he is growing older, but they cannot afford to buy him a 5000 to 7000 rupees wheelchair.

Now, Shravan had no idea that we have also donated wheelchairs in the past. He did not ask us for help to buy his son a wheelchair.
That is when I decided, not only are we going to help Shravan get a new bicycle, we are also going to help his ‘disabled’ child own a wheelchair.

My friend, Varsha kalani, had been waiting in the wings since long now, to buy a wheelchair for someone, so I decided to seek her help finally.
Moreover, it had been some time now that we had donated a wheelchair. Shravan’s destiny sent his son to us, I thought, even though she took away his livelihood bicycle. But she did that so that he may be able to find us, and in turn for us to be able to find his under privileged child who needs a wheelchair. Strange, indeed, are the ways of destiny. Salute.

Was this all just a dream
From the mind of a deity
Or is it nothing more than it seems
And just a long case of serendipity.
– Anon.

One wheelchair coming up, soon!

Thank you to Dinyar Gilder and ‘Bounce Gilder’, woof woof, for purchasing this bicycle for Shravan. Shravan contributed towards its purchase too.

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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