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. 🙂 )

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