144th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :
Whether your driver drops you to work in a car, or you ride a second hand bicycle to the railway Station, we all are the same-same.
Ashok Mahadev Hathe (42)
Ashok is born and brought up in Mangaon, Raigad, and he is a graduate (BA).
His father was a farmer, but due to inconsistent rains his elder brother migrated to Mumbai, and when Ashok reached adulthood he persuaded Ashok too to leave their village and migrate to Mumbai to earn a more secure livelihood.
Eventually, all 3 brothers migrated.
When Ashok first arrived in Mumbai 15 to 20 years ago, he worked as a DTP operator, as he had typing skills. When that opportunity shut down, he found a job as a courier with Vichare at Bandra west. He is employed with them ever since.
Ashok’s wife works, and his two children, a boy (10) and girl, are studying in school.
How did I meet this gentleman? Hmmmmm.
Well…. On my nearly daily walks or bicycle rides, or on my way home in the evenings in my car, I began to notice a short, thin ‘like a lady finger’, man with a big bag of letters and parcels walking around the lanes of Perry Cross Road, Rajan Sherley, St Andrews’ streets. He had a gentle walk, never seemed in a hurry, yet focused on a destination. Like a stream trickles along in no hurry in serene country sides, singing a charming tune.
However, when I began to look at his face more keenly, now that he had come into our, Bicycle Angels’ ‘horizon’, I began to notice how fatigued he was. Always profusely-sweating. I began to wonder, how much these courier delivery persons must be walking daily!? Their employers may be paying them BEST or auto rickshaw fare, but I think maybe many of these couriers walk just to save that money too.
I stopped a couple of times on my walks when I happened to see Ashok, and began to chat with him. I realized over a few weeks, he does not use a bicycle at work.
a) There is no place for him to leave his bicycle overnight safe. As he resides in Ghatkopar;
b) He travels by BEST bus from his home in Ghatkopar to the railway station;
c) His son, desired to own a bicycle, so he can take it to school and or tuition. (His daughter too could use it someday, I reasoned within myself.)
Most importantly, if he rides on a bike daily to the station, he will save Rs 700 – 750 a month. When your salary is in the early thousands, saving Rs 750 a month matters a lot.
For me, these were good enough reasons to help Ashok and or his children. His son and daughter will be able to ride the kind of cool looking bicycle I had in mind to buy for this particular recipient. Since he did not really need a Hercules or Atlas kind of livelihood bicycle to carry mostly letters.
I thought, if we buy him a bicycle, one that is not ridden by people who deliver milk and eggs, but the regular bicycle like we privileged people ride, it will look quite cool on him 🙂 and even his two kids can take it to school on and off, if they wish, and ride it with pride in from of their mates, I imagined, like I rode cool bikes as a kid. 🙂
So, we purchased one just like that for him, and Ashok too contributed nominally towards this purchase.
I was very glad to make Ashok’s acquaintance, as he was a very humble, gentle, polite man. However, his ‘Sirji’ ‘Sirji’ had begun to embarrass me. Just because we are in a position of power today, I think we do not deserve to be addressed as ‘Sirji’ ‘Saabji’
That, I would say belongs only to the bygone era of the British Raj, ya man, the Sun set on their empire long long ago. And reserved for us to address some corrupt Police Officers, corrupt Politicians, corrupt IT officers, corrupt Sales Tax, Excise Officers, etc. 😉 or then for our dear friend in jest. 🙂
Coming back to Ashok, he made me once again realize, how important it is to offer water to couriers, postman, delivery boys, or even just ask them ‘Kaise ho?’ how are you, once in a while. They remember this random kindness shown by us privileged people, who they serve, immensely, he too told me.
I asked Ashok, what is the best thing about his children?
Amongst the things he mentioned, what stood out for me was, he said his son goes to school and comes straight back home, and he does not hang with the kind of elements around their locality that most people of his status perceive or know to be taporis, goons, delinquents.
And I thought, hmmmm now that is exactly the fear of a parent known to me whose son goes to a most prestigious school at BKC. She is glad her son does not hang with some elements from his school that she perceives can be a bad influence on her son. These kids she fears, they arrive in a Range Rover.
So I thought, whether your driver drops you to work in a car, or you ride a second hand bicycle to the railway Station, we all are the same-same. 😉 🙂
Anyways, today is the joyous occasion of Eid! Happy Eid to all! And, I wish the happiest days to those who will not sacrifice a life to seek blessings and or appease a God or idol or prophet, or a self-styled Bhagwan or ‘Baba’ or ‘Ma’, or to celebrate a religious occasion, irrespective of their belief, tradition, faith or religion. 🙂
Thank you to Priyanka/Advait Chaturvedi, Neelam Soorma, and Surabhi Shah, for purchasing this wonderful cool bicycle for Ashok and his two children to utilize as they please.
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.
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. 🙂 )
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