132nd recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :
You cannot attempt nor change the times of dawn and dusk, the serial order of seasons, or the direction of the traveling winds. You can try to change your circumstances.
Mewalal Nirmal (54)
Dhobi (Laundry service)
Mewala is from UP, and lives in Bandra.
He arrived in Mumbai in 1978, when his father, a dhobi, passed away. Mewalal was studying in class 6th then, and had to drop out of school. Under the able guidance of a caring relative, he migrated to Mumbai to support his family; “…I was the eldest. I had to shoulder their responsibility too.” he said, and not as a regret.
Mewala’s life proves that even an unfortunate uninvited responsibility can be an opportunity for a chance at better life. You cannot attempt nor change the times of dawn and dusk, the serial order of seasons, or the direction of the traveling winds. You can try to change your circumstances. I believe.
Mewalal left his roots behind and grew new ones, solid ones, in a distant land, establishing his livelihood as a dhobi in Mumbai eventually, and beginning from the young age of 17.
I asked Mewalal about his best client, either someone who always pays in time or treats him with much respect or agrees to his increase in wages etc… and Mewalalji named Mr Anil Dhawan and family, who once resided at Pali Hill.
Mewalaji went on to explain to me why, and in my opinion it reflects what a person of his kind of perceived status can consider a ‘good-human being’ client: …”….. Anil Dhawan Saab and his wife would always inquire about me, sometimes my family, in the course of the many decades I served their family as their dhobi.”
To cut it short, their outstanding grace and kindness that touched Mewalal’s heart and will travel with him beyond the roads he rides on Earth, that is if we believe in re-birth and Karma post life, is, “… One day, Dhawan Saab’s wife told me… it has been so many years we have known each other, so many festive Diwali seasons have gone by, how come you never gave me anything, even one small laddoo at Diwali?’ (How are we any different from your relatives and people that you must be celebrating Diwali with and offering sweets?”)’
(It was her grace that she did not mention that the Dhawan family has been giving him ‘baksheesh’ on Diwalis… while showing their family’s affection for him in this manner.)
Mewalal’s eyes went moist when he narrated this incident to me. Even I paused out of respect for how the Dhawan family showered their affection on their laundry services gentleman.
I remembered our family Doctor, Dr. Gokhale. A most admirable, honorable, soft hearted, compassionate, empathetic man I encountered since my teens in our home.
Every Diwali, since my teens, adorable and short Dr Gokhale would mostly be the first person to arrive to our house with a box of Laddoos, sweets. His box, was quite ‘humble’ in comparison to the huge colossal dry fruit boxes and the most beautiful and exotic flowers that many film industry professionals (okay, but then that’s because many of them needed my Dad’s lyrics for their movies, so for them it was just a part of their ‘film-budget’ … because, the years my Dad’s films did not do well these amazing gifts nor producers directors phone calls wishing ‘Happy Diwali Bakshi Saab’ never arrived.) would invade our house with on my Dad’s birthday and on Diwali. 😉
However, Dr Gokhale’s humble box of laddoos was one that my father, and we all, awaited the most, and being the first sweet that arrived almost every Diwali for over three decades (30 x 3 = 33 years minimum), it remains unforgettable for me.
I miss my Dad, not a day goes by we won’t think of our parents and at some special occasions miss their breaths on our living bodies, but that beautiful most precious box of sweets from our dearest Dr Gokhale remains etched in my memory, and of course my most grateful tongue, 😉
The best thing, Dr Gokhale’s sweets arrived even in those years when my Dad’s films flopped at the Box Office and he did not have a large following of producers and directors.
Mewalal told me, “Saab. Humko pehli baar humari zindagi mein kissi ne apna samjha. Apne barabari ka. Humko itna khushi huwa, ki uss din ke baad humne har saal unke liye ek chota sa laddoo ka dabba har Diwali ko unko diya. Unko bahut logon ne laddoo diya hoga, aur ladoo se bhi zyada tohfe, lekin humko aaj yeh khushi hai ki unn bade bade logon ke tohfon ke beech mein humare chote ladoo ked abbe ki bhi keemat thi Dhawan family ke liye.”
(Sir, for the first time in my life, someone of their status thought of humble me as their own. I was so happy, that after that every year I gifted them a small box of sweets at Diwali. Many people of very high status may have given them many far more expensive sweets and gifts at Diwali. I am happy that in those much valued Diwali gifts rested my humble box of laddoos proudly, shoulder to shoulder.)
What Mrs Anil Dhawan did for Mewalal was, she made him feel AN EQUAL, I have never done this for anyone who has served me or my family in a similar manner.
This Diwali I am going to ask my driver, Rabindra Singh, my malee / gardeners Rajendra Bhosle and Jagdish Tiwari, and my domestic helps Manoj and Lalita, what Mrs Dhawan asked Mewalaji which makes him miss them even today, because they shifted from Pali Hill to another location that is now too far for him to bicycle to and serve. Thank you Mrs Dhawan.
I believe, the ‘big’ gifts we may sometimes be expecting from some people on festive occasions Diwali Xmas Bdays Annivs etc may really be meant for our ego. And some people sometimes gift them to our ego, not to us really.
Thank you to Arvind Divay, and Shraddha Shah for buying this bicycle for Mewalalji. Mewalaji contributed nearly half towards its purchase.
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. 🙂 )