141st recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :
A cracked frame of a bicycle, welded together, however well a job done, by the best of engineers, cannot bear weight or sudden jerks on the road any longer, reliably. It will remain as vulnerable, as sometimes a shattered heart suffering from abandoned or unrequited love. In both cases, it is a sign for the owner to renew it with a renewed spirit. 🙂
Gurusevak (40 plus)
Dhobi (Laundry service)
Gurusevak is from UP. His bicycle frame was broken, and welded at the joints. And his bicycle was old. So we thought we can extend our small helping hand to him, especially since he was willing to contribute nearly half the cost of the new bicycle that we were willing to buy for him.
A cracked frame of a bicycle, welded together, however well a job done, by the best of engineers, cannot bear weight or sudden jerks on the road any longer, reliably.
It will remain as vulnerable, as sometimes a shattered heart suffering from abandoned or unrequited love. In both cases, it is a sign for the owner to renew it with a renewed spirit. 🙂
Gurusevak’s father was a Dhobi too, and before he got old he inculcated his son, Gurusevak, into his profession. Gurusevak has been a Dhobi since 1995, when he first arrived in Mumbai, after studying till the 10th class.
His family owned a small quantity of land back in the village and cultivated it. However, agriculture has often not served well enough to sustain their family’s needs, and their dreams.
Two brothers, and five sisters, and his parents; that, comprised their family. Gurusevak will have to migrate to a big city and earn a better and more reliable livelihood, his family decided for him then though he was a teenager.
Invariably, or most often, I think, everything that happens to us makes our lives better. Yes, not always and not for everyone. Gurusevak and his father ran their dhobi profession together from their rented quarters at Bandra west, and eventually they got his five sisters married from this income, that agriculture may never have bequeathed them. Gurusevak got married too.
Father and son, along with their God, built their family’s destiny together. Gurusevak has two sons and a daughter, and is educating them all.
Gurusevak’s father passed away early this year. He died instantly suffering a heart attack during a wedding event at their village. Without a goodbye.
Two or more years ago Gurusevak had purchased a room in a lower income area in Bandra west. Not a house. A room. Over the last two years, ever since I began meeting these professionals (who use a bicycle to ferry their goods of trade, milk, bread, eggs, etc) and assist them in our own minor way, I realized that most of them live in a single room.
And, that is why, they, unlike us privileged beings, very often when they talk about their house to me, they describe, address their HOUSE, to me as room. It took me half my lifetime to realize that most of these daily-wages-professionals reside in a single room. The toilet is community-shared, and their ‘kitchen’ is in one corner of that single room, their ‘bedroom’ the other corner, and most often the third corner of their room is occupied by their livelihood bicycle.
Their only mode of transport for self and their goods of trade is the safest indoors. Living so close to the streets their bicycles get robbed very often. And the day they can’t ride, they don’t earn. Hence, their secure their bicycles like we secure our party-time vehicles.
In the two years that Gurusevak did not travel to his village to see his family, his children and his father did tell him often to come visit them in the village.
However, he said, to me “I had promised the seller of the room that I would pay the price for the room within a certain time. ‘Humme karza waqt par chukana tha.’ I stayed back to fulfil my given word. I fulfilled my word to the man we owed money to for the room I purchased. But I lost out on seeing my father before he died.”
As I watched this deserving fellow ride away on his new bicycle, I reflected upon a common man’s need to keep his promise because of ‘izzat ka sawaal’ and or the financial implications of not paying back a loan or installment in time.
Here was a father and son who built their family’s destiny together, sharing a bicycle between themselves, and sharing the load on it nearly for an entire lifetime, considering Gurusevak had been working ever since he was a teen or young adult. However, they could not share a last goodbye.
I wondered, as I saw Gurusevak melt away into Mumbai’s traffic, what could be going on in the mind of someone whose closest relative leaves without a goodbye?
I think, it is expressed poignantly by my father in his lyrics for a song he wrote in director Tanuja Chandra’s film, Dushman. The song sung by Jagjit Singh – Chitti Na Koi Sandesh…. In the third para (2 mins and 40 seconds into the song) the writer’s expression says it all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx74wGWS0FY
Thank you to Surabhi Shah and Parag Parekh for contributing towards Gurusevak’s new bicycle. He contributed nearly half its cost.
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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