131st recipient of our help (livelihood bicycle):
“Let some pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I’d rather be proud of the ones I’ve read.”
Krishna Pandurang Gobre (dada) lives at Khar Danda. He has a family home near Ratnagiri. His wife passed away a few months ago. She suffered a stroke, which resulted in her one side getting paralyzed. That side went blue and black and within four months she travelled beyond his skies.
When Krishna dada told me about the death of his wife, his aged feeble lips quivered. Not a tear escaped his eyes. His deep sorrow and even his deeper loneliness at losing his life companion seeped into me even through the distance we sat across. What was even sad was, he spent nearly Rs 3 lacs from his Public Provident Fund account on her cure, yet, lost her.
Krishna dada has been working as a malee since his teens. He has a son who is married and works someplace in Mumbai. His daughter in law and son look after him very well, and are devoted to his care, he said very proudly.
One incident from his life that stood out for me was, when Krishna dada was occupied with Otters Club, at Bandra west, as a malee, He fell from a tree while working and injured his back. The injury was severe and he was bed ridden for nearly one year.
His employer then, Otters Club, did not stop his salary, and even when he wanted to return to work they allowed him to but did not let him work for another one or two months. They were willing to continue paying him his salary for another year, they assured him, if he feels he finds it tough to work and wants to rest some more months.
But Krishna dada, an honorable man who earned his way up is what I thought of him, was determined to return to work. Maybe to justify the salary they had continued to pay him while he recuperated. The club management finally gave in and allowed him to come to work daily.
But they kept him inactive until they were fully confident he is not harming his recovery in any way by beginning work.
My hat off to Otters Club and their managing committee that nurtured an injured employee through his long illness. This happened sometime two decades or more ago.
Another thing that stood out for me about Krishna dada him was, his self-pride, his high self-esteem, his even higher values. On many occasions, he faced financial challenges. Urgent need for money, like when he was bed ridden for a year and decades later when his wife was paralyzed.
Various people offered him financial help; his sister in law who he had assisted financially for her marriage, his brother’s children on whose weddings he had spent from his own savings.
But Krishna dada had refused them. He had said, “You have offered me help, that is good enough for me for now. If I need your help some day, I shall ask for it. Right now I will not accept your money. Take it back.” He added, “I never had to go back to them for help. I somehow always managed to help myself and my family without ever asking for help or by accepting the volunteered financial assistance.”
From the little Krishna dada told me, about how he has spent from his savings in getting his nephews and nieces married off, he did admit (on my prodding) that he could not save much from his earnings because of those deeds he had dutifully done. However, he did not admit it with bitter regret. He stated it simply as a fact, like we speak about a duty or dharma.
Krishna dada’s happiest memory is when his house, truly a ‘home’, was singing with voices with the presence of his extended family. He fondly recollects the younger generation, as they have a joint family house back in the village, addressing him as ‘Dada’, and he takes immense pride in that as for him it’s a term of great respect. I decided to address him as dada.
Some of the building societies dada continues to work with today have told him to come to work even if he cannot work as much as someone younger. They just want to continue to pay him as long as he comes to work, and does not necessarily ‘work’ daily.
That, is charity too, in my opinion. Like many diary farms in India continue to feed and care for the cows that they took milk, cheese, butter from more than a decade ago. Same same.
I really admired this ‘dada’. What a high level must have been his commitment towards his work and his personal behavior too, when he was a more able worker, that his employers, including Otters Club, just do not want to let go of him!
My hat off to Dada. I was happy we were able to buy a bicycle for him. We took a negligible contribution from him, considering his age too, in my humble opinion.
Krishna Dada’s sense of pride in himself for some reason reminded me of a quote, “Let some pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I’d rather be proud of the ones I’ve read.” ― Jorge Luis Borges
Because, those who offered to help him on many occasions may have felt some sense of pride in their act of goodness of having offered to help a needy and worthy stranger or relative. But Krishna Dada has immense pride in refusing them and managing on his own.
I wasn’t raised in a mansion
Or fed with a silver spoon
I wasn’t brought up to think money is everything
Because only fools believe that’s true
I wasn’t raised to live out my parents dream
But to proudly dream my own
I wasn’t raised to walk the popular path
But to strongly pave my very own
– Charlise Butner
Thank you to Dr Manoj Bhatia, Sonika and Rajeev Munjal, and Surabhi Shah for contributing towards the purchase of this new bicycle for dada. He made a token contribution towards the same.
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. 🙂 )