140th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle- Gurgaon Chapter):

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Arun Kishor (20)

Security Guard (in our society – Orchid Petals, Gurgaon.)

Arun Kishore is a resident of Etawa UP and has completed his graduation this year. He is the eldest son and has a younger brother and two sisters studying in Etawa.

His father is a farmer and does seasonal farming, thus there is no consistent source of income in the family. Moreover the weather conditions in India do not leave much profit to the small scale farmers. In order to support the studies and upbringing of younger brother and sister he decided to move out of his village and came to Gurgaon in search of a better and more consistent livelihood.

Arun is a security guard in our society and works from 8AM – 8PM and is hardly left with any time to do anything else.

Arun is very shy in nature and was very hesitant to share his problems with me. We could not do much for him but can extend our help to save his precious time that he spends walking every day in order to commute to work and we decided to help him by buying him a new bicycle.
We wish him a bright future and healthy life.

Rakesh Anand Bakshi and his donors’ (of Bicycle Angels) , their good work, is behind my own motivation for helping less privileged people like Arun and his family, and I hope to help many others like him as and when I am able.

Thanks a ton to my colleague Nitin Gautam, who came forward to finance the bicycle for Arun on his own accord. Through this humble deed we have added yet another member in the chain of the many helpers who support Bicycle Angels’ efforts to help less privileged people earn a better livelihood.

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139th recipient – Good luck is that straight road….

139 Tea samosa Pavitran Parag Shaad Ramakant

139th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle)
 
Good Luck is that straight road which lies just a little beyond one of the many bends in the road. You can never see it in advance. You just need to keep turning the corners until the bends run out.
 
Pavitran K P Gopalan. (40)
 
Tea, and Samosa seller.
 
Pavitran is from Kerala. His father passed away when he was nine. Due to lack of money, he could not study beyond the 10th class. He had two younger siblings, a brother and sister, and being the eldest, he had to begin earning a livelihood for his family.
 
His family still owns a small parcel of land in Kerala, on which they have ten to twelve coconut trees. So the income from cultivating them was never ever enough.
After his father’s death, his mother began to work as a daily wages worker; carrying coconuts to the sellers-market on her head, and working in the rice fields belonging to other well to do farmers. She worked from dawn to dusk, nonstop for nearly two decades.
 
Post his father’s death, in 1991, he arrived in Mumbai to look for work. He did not find work that paid sufficiently, so he returned to his village and became a river-fisherman. He described the profession of fishing as, ‘Luck ke oopar hai.’ Catching fish is mostly a matter of luck. He decided, enough of depending on just luck. Not being a fortune’s fool, he once again migrated to Mumbai and began selling tea to earn a more regular livelihood, something he had more control over.
 
I wondered about luck. Everybody wishes for it. Some even give it too much credit for their good fortune. Some are ‘atheist’ about it. I think, Good Luck is that straight road which lies just a little beyond one of the many bends in the road. You can never see it in advance. You just need to keep turning the corners until the bends run out.
 
Today is 2015. Post nearly 30 years, Pavitran is still a “chaiwala. That’s how he addresses himself. But you know what this giant has been able to achieve in these 30 years!? Singlehandedly, Pavitran educated his younger brother and sister till the 10th class! And fed his mother. Today his bother paints premises, and his sister is a tailor, back in Kerala.
 
Our salute to Pavitran. He mentioned to he has three children, 14, 7 and 3. All in school. However, for me, humble Pavitran, known to many simply as ‘ek chaiwala’, became a father long ago. When he was just nine.
 
When Pavitran spoke about how hard his mother worked, nonstop from dawn to dusk, to support them when they were still kids, he could not control his emotions. They overflowed.
 
However, he recovered quickly, and said “I am happy that she no longer has to do any of that. Ever since I have become an earning member of my family, she has been able to rest.’
 
Well-deserved rest, I thought. Apne Maa ke araam ke baare me sochta hai yeh beta. Kitna ooncha insaan hai yeh, Toh kya huwa agar yeh duniya ke liye shayad sirf ek chaiwala hai. I thought of Pavitran. (This son thinks of his mother’s rest. For the world he may be just a tea-man. But he is a giant of a human.)
 
Pavitran had cried twice in his interview. Both times while speaking about his parents. I wanted him to be a little cheerful when he leaves. So I asked him when he has felt the happiest in his life?
 
He replied, “When I made our house structure with cement and bricks. It was earlier mud and leaves, all these years.”
Now they will not have to fear the heavy rains of Kerala, I thought. And I too smiled looking at him smiling with pride.
 
Thank you to Shaad Randhawa and Parag Parekh. The new bicycle they both had donated last month to Ramakant the Paan leaves seller, Ramakant’s old bicycle we donated to Pavitran.
 
 
 
(PS – Rs 3000 is what it takes to donate a new bicycle; yes, because the balance, 2000 to 2500, is contributed by the recipient. 🙂 )

My feelings and experiences from my Pune to Ratnagiri 350 kms charity ride.

Yesterday I visisted a semi-rural school, and remembered this ride and moments.

Bicycle Angels

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Post my nearly 350-400 kms trip, a bicycle charity-ride from Pune to Ratnagiri, over 6 days, riding nearly 50 to 70 kms daily, (on which my friends, and family and the NGO donated 9 livelihood bicycles to needy and rural people, across 6 towns and villages of Maharashtra, Pune, Umbraj, Kokrud, Pali, Ratnagiri, along with the NGO Mukul Madhav Foundation);
some of my friends asked me, ‘So, What was the trip and ride like?’

Well, the cycling was great, but so was the experience of knowing these children, up close.

Quite many lessons and feelings from my ride across five towns of Maharashtra, I decided to share today.

Every Zilla Parishad school I visited, four, as an observer and not a social worker, I noticed everywhere the midday meal was exactly the same; Dal and Rice. No chatni, no papad, no achaar, no onions, none of the frills I regularly…

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138th recipient – “Do not let a scar tissue form on the wounds you suffer.” …. And, about male-under wear and the bra. :)

138 Dhobi Sandip Nirmal parag anupama

138th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :

“Do not let a scar tissue form on the wounds you suffer.” …. And, about male-under wear and the bra. 🙂

Sandeep Nirmal (23)

Dhobi (laundry services)

Sandeep is from UP and lives at Bandra west. Sandeep’s father is a dhobi too, in Mumbai. They own some quantity of land back in UP, which their joint family cultivates.

They still cultivate their own small piece of land, but unpredictable weather and lack of rain, and often debt, makes these souls leave their ancestral homes for distant foreign lands they perceive having ‘more benevolent’ skies.

When Sandeep was in school, sparse income from agriculture that could have been used for their right to education, of his siblings and himself, was utilized to fight the court case for their rights on their ancestral house and land, both which got eventually divided.

Divided unfairly, not in his family’s favor. Their relative being too powerful financially, and goon-ish, he even beat his mother to make his father bow down. His father did. 😦 Without a fight. 😦

The saddest part, for me, and shocking, after having spent much of their savings on their lawyers’ ‘fees’, after four years they found out there is no ‘court case’ against them! The ‘fees’ they had been religiously paying, through their nose most probably, was a friggin scam!!!

Their relative, in connivance with the local Police and a ‘soulless-lawyer’, had prepared fake case-papers and had been forging all relevant court proceedings documents for over four years, to make it seem he has been attending the district court and arguing their case!, so that he (the lawyer and their relative) can continue ‘stealing’ money from Sandeep’s father in the guise of a ‘Court-case ladhne ki fees’! (Advocates’ fees to fight their court case)

However, this dishonesty, corruption, blatant theft, humiliating incident of seeing one’s own mother being beaten by a goon-relative, her husband not being able to stop it and protect his own family, this humiliating and financially-crippling defeat, submission to someone more powerful, and a goon too, at the hands of their relative may have ended that court case.

But it did not bring Sandeep and his family at the end of themselves! It was to become a new beginning, just as it often is, to a new profession, a new life, a new city of dreams – Mumbai. 🙂

Thanks to his hard work in Mumbai, even though Sandeep could not educate himself beyond the 8th class, because the ‘court-case’ drained their savings, being the eldest he worked with his father in Mumbai and together they have provided school, and even higher, education for his siblings.

After speaking to him, I realized, Sandeep did not let a scar tissue form on this deep wound that their mother and family suffered. Being the eldest, he soon migrated to Mumbai, at 16, and began to learn the trade of a dhobi from his father.
He regrets he could not educate himself, but he is content and satisfied that he and his father could earn substantially to educate his siblings. 🙂 God Bless.

I may have come to believe even more firmly now, things will look up, invariably, if you yourself first do. You need to ‘look up’ to feel the Sun, or even the ‘Moonlight’, on your hopeful-face.

Take me for example, when my business failed in 1998, in spite of 11 years of relentless hard work, and pouring in additional funds, which I could borrow interest-free from my well to do father, but losing some of it over a decade, and never being even able to pay him back in his lifetime (and, only in retrospect do I realize, I just did not have the aptitude for ‘business’, so just ‘hard work’ is never enough for success) I returned to my roots. My roots being, my post-teen love for random-writing. Poems, comprehensions. And I decided to come to films. A new beginning.

Lately, last year, I even wrote the Hindi dialogues of a Walt Disney production, Million Dollar Arm.

I believe, do not let a scar tissue form on the wound you may suffer. Failure or defeat may bring your dream, your project, your aspiration, your journey to an end. But it does not have to bring you at the end of yourself! You are your own new beginning.

Sandeep, and millions of underprivileged like him, even those who do not use a bicycle for their livelihood, gain their ‘independence’ by first gaining financial independence. Same, for women. Education and a job can bring them much of the independence they crave since childhood.

At the eve of our (Indian) day of Independence, from once-upon-a-time British rule, I have some thoughts on this significant moment that is repeated every year since 1948. ‘Independence’ will, naturally, mean different things to different beings, including humans. 🙂

Last week, inspired by the flight of the lovely and inspiring phoenix bird (Humay) from across the border-skies, I was inspired to ponder on what independence means to me. For me, ‘Independence Day’ does not arrive only once a year; many people need to gain ‘independence’ from negative thoughts or adverse occurrences on a daily basis.

Furthermore, ‘independence’ for me does not necessarily mean ‘an absolute-freedom’. For me, independence comes along ‘with reins.’ They just not rigid ones. Just like a horse is ridden best controlling the reins, for me independence would be best lived with an occasional pull and release; a rain check, now and then, on your thoughts and actions from those thoughts, depending on the circumstances, the environment, the situation, the relationship, the culture that I am present in at that moment in life.

On a lighter note, if I may, I would not take the expression “Be free” literally. If we were meant to be ‘free’ in any and every sense, male under-wear and the bra would never have been invented by mankind. 😉

That is why animals do not need them. Animals, they truly were the only ‘free’ beings. It is us humans who are forcing them, year after year, into ‘smaller and smaller cages’ – by invading their ancestral lands. Humans can migrate to foreign lands, like Sandeep did. Where will such beings, our wild life, migrate? I sadly wonder. No Independence-day for them ever.

Thank you to Parag Parekh, and Anupama and Rajeev Chibber, for buying this new bicycle for Sandeep. Even Sandeep contributed partly 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.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/
https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/RakBak16

Our recipients of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1

(PS – Rs 3000 is what it takes to donate a new bicycle; yes, because the balance, 2000 to 2500, is contributed by the recipient. 🙂 )

#BicycleAngels #Charity #Donors #Donation #Bicycles #Livelihood #inspiration #RakeshAnandBakshi #RakeshBakshi

137th recipient of help – “… I thought we cannot do much for him, but at least we can offer to help him save precious time that he spends walking to work and back home…”

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137th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle- Gurgaon Chapter):

Pramod Kumar (25)

Security Guard (in our society – Orchid Petals, Gurgaon.)

Pramod Kumar has completed his BSc, but could not study any further studies to financial issues. In order to help out his family in financial crisis he came to Gurgaon, so that he could help them as well as save some money for his further studies.

He is working 8 AM – 8 PM as a security guard and walks approx. for 2 hrs a day to commute to work and home. He hardly gets any time to prepare for his exams to complete his further studies. I thought we cannot do much for him but at least we cab offer to help him save precious time he spends walking to work and back home. So we decided to buy a bicycle for him. Ride safe.

Rakesh Anand Bakshi and his donors’ (of Bicycle Angels ) , their work, is behind my motivation for helping this man and his family, and I hope to help many others like him as and when I am able.

I am happy we have added yet another member, donor, in the chain of donors who support Bicycle Angels’ efforts. Our donors name is Pradeep Mehra ji, and I met him via Pedalars , which is a cycling group founded by Mr Vishwas Sindhu Gurgaon. (We do recreational trail rides near Gurgaon. Pradeep ji came forward and offered his help to finance the bicycles we found two recipients for. Thanks a ton Pradeep Ji.

– Prashant Taneja. (Gurgaon)

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136th recipient – Gurgaon – “Whenever elections are approaching we are promised too many things for our better living and betterment of India,

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136th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle- Gurgaon Chapter):

“Whenever elections are approaching we are promised too many things for our better living and betterment of India, but nothing much is done for our farmers and the ground reality is that …”

Sukumar Patro (34)

Malee/Gardener (in our society- Orchid Petals, Gurgaon)

Sukumar Patro was a farmer in Sundarban, 24 Parganas in West Bengal, he has two daughters one 5 years old and the other one 8 years old.

He used to grow vegetables and seasonal crops in his farm, from farming he could earn hardly 3000-4000 per month. Not to mention how hard it is to bring up the family of four people in this income and continue the school for kids.

Three months ago Patro and his wife decided to leave farming and come to Gurgaon to earn their living, leaving their daughters in the village with other relatives. Soon after coming to Gurgaon he met me, he hardly speaks Hindi and uses mostly sign language to communicate and it was then I decided to lend him a helping hand so that he could commute to work on his own and save his time and money of public transport.

We agreed on paying 50% share of the bicycle’s cost, and it took three months for Patro to save Rs 1000. Now even his wife has also started working as a domestic help. Both of them are working to meet their daily needs in Gurgaon and better education of their daughters in West Bengal.

After meeting Patro, and learning briefly about the reason behind his ‘forced’ migration, I pondered on the state of millions of our farmers. Their yearlong toil in the sun brings fresh produce on our table. Sadly, whenever elections are approaching we citizens are promised too many things by many politicians for our ‘better living and betterment of India’, however, nothing much is done for our farmers and the ground reality is that every year many farmers commit suicide due to lack of income in the profession of farming, and many of them have to leave their ancestral profession and leave their families in the village and come down to foreign metro cities to earn their basic livelihood. Luxuries are unimaginable for them. Imagine what will happen if all the farmers in India leave farming and start with some other profession due to lack of regular income or adequate compensation due to failure of rains or floods or untimely rainfall etc?

Rakesh Anand Bakshi and his donors’ (of Bicycle Angels ) , their work, is behind my motivation for helping this man and his family, and I hope to help many others like him as and when I am able.

I am happy we have added yet another member, donor, in the chain of donors who support Bicycle Angels’ efforts. Our donors name is Pradeep Mehra ji, and I met him via Pedalars, which is a cycling group founded by Mr Vishwas Sindhu Gurgaon. (We do recreational trail rides near Gurgaon. Pradeep ji came forward and offered his help to finance the bicycles we found two recipients for. Thanks a ton Pradeep Ji.

– Prashant Taneja https://www.facebook.com/prash2k01?fref=ts

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https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/