Distributing warm woolen blankets on Mumbai streets

Today, early morning, before break of beautiful dawn, we distributed some woolen blankets on Mumbai streets.

Our donor, Shashi Chhabria, had asked me a few days ago to help her distribute warm blankets to the less privileged on our streets. I decided to use our bicycles, and rider pals, to do the needful, as I did not want to burn burn fossil fuels doing the same using our cars.

I asked my rider pal, some one we can depend on, Krish Captain, and Ekta, and his passionate velo enthu Pedal Bunnies’ riders (#PedalBunnies), to help Bicycle Angels’ do the needful.

And we did.

Post the distribution of woolen blankets, between Juhu and Mahim, one of our rider pal, told me, ‘Rakesh, … the smile on the face of the destitute woman, clearly a sign of her immense gratitude, when I handed her the woolen blanket, made our ride really worthwhile.”
Another rider pal told me, “… A destitute woman, who was picking up recyclable stuff off the pavements, I tried to hand a blanket to her but she showed me the one she had already received just a few moments ago, from our rider pal riding a little ahead of us, and she politely refused to accept another one.”

Such is the high values in some people who are far less privileged than us and either are forced to live and or work and walk our streets because of their unfortunate circumstances.

Every one who rode today thanked Shashi Chhabria for this opportunity we received to offer a few people a helping hand in this bitter cold weather.

#RakeshAnandBakshi #BicycleAngels #HumanityOurReligion

Pics below, before we embarked on our distribution ride and later post our ride at the Chaiwala at Worli. Krish was kind to gift our favorite Chai wala’s helper boy, Chotu, a blanket too. 🙂

155th recipient of help- Too much, or too little, both are not good. There was a lesson from nature for us, in this, I thought.

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155th recipient of help, a livelihood bicycle.

Bhagvan Suresh Atole. (45)

Fisherman.

Bhagwan lives at Umbraj, Satara. There are 5 members in his family. I was glad that though he remains formally uneducated, both his children go to the Zilla Parishad school at Umbraj.

Bhagwan goes to the nearby Krishna river for fishing. He uses old sarees, and not professional nets, to fish. The income he manages to generate from catching fish daily from the river is not enough to buy nets. He sells the catch in and around Umbraj, by walking to a couple to small markets in the vicinity.

There are times when he does not catch any fish, even after spending 6 to 8 hours in the river, and sometimes he has no income for 20 to 25 days. This happens when there is too much water, monsoons, or when there is too little, during he summer months, in the river. Too much, or too little, both are not good. There was a lesson from nature for us, in this, I thought.

At such times, Bhagwan has to fall back on his little savings and or any daily wages random jobs to secure his savings.

A bicycle will save Bhagwan some walking hours, and the time he spares he feels he can spend some more time with his children and also do some extra rounds of the few markets in his locality.

I thought his daughter looked dam cute, seated on the bike’s goods carrier that her daddy had earned for himself from his good reputation in Umbraj. After all, he was recommended to MMF and me by the school authorities.

This new bicycle was donated by us during our Pune to Ratnagiri Cyclothon 2015, a free medical health camp for nearly 3000 Zilla Parishand school children, and was sponsored by the NGO #MukulMadhavFoundation; MMF.

This bicycle was donated by my childhood pals Dilnaz Gilder Dinyar J Gilder. MMF helped me identify this beneficiary in rural western Maharashtra. I met him at the Umbraj Zilla Parishad school. Thank you to all.

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

#MukulMadhavFoundation #BicycleAngels #RakeshAnandBakshi #DrRamDhillon #FinolexPipes #AshokLeyland

 

158th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : “There is darkness in life, though there are many many lights. Only You… are the light for yourself, the brightest of all lights.”

 

158th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :

“There is darkness in life,
though there are many many lights.
Only You… are the light for yourself,
the brightest of all lights.”

Ajith Gorakhnath Patil. (22)

Electrician.

Ajith lives at Kokrud, Sangli. His father is a farmer, and his brother is a tractor-driver.

Ajith owned a bicycle in the past, during his teens, but could not buy a new one after it got old and rusted.
I asked him how he would benefit with the gift of this new bicycle. Ajith replied, “… a bicycle will not only help me commute, there is no public transport in and around our village, but riding one daily will be good for my health too. The daily exercise of riding a bicycle will be good for my body.”

Ajith is single. He hopes work opportunities will increase and improve by having his own bicycle, and someday he will be able to earn enough to get married.

Before brining light to others by becoming an Electrician, Ajith first lit the lamp within. For himself alone. He was a graduate.

“There is darkness in life
And there are many many lights.
Only You… are the light for yourself.
The brightest of all lights.”

I asked Ajith what made him make the choice of becoming an Electrician…? Considering he is a graduate he must have had more options, even though he lives in a small village. He replied, he was always interested in this profession ever since he was a teen.

Soon it was time for Ajith to leave. As I watched him embark on his new vehicle, with a renewed independence, I embraced many random thoughts. Maybe his village got electrified later than villages around, and maybe as a child enveloped by many hours of relentless darkness Ajith got tired of staring at darkness for too long. Did anything like that make him become interested in the massive power of Electricity ….?

Riding his new bicycle with a shy joy, Ajith soon disappeared from my sight. Only his bicycle’s tire tracks remained behind. Imprinted on the Zilla Parishad school ground that we both had stood on moments ago. The only mortal sign of our helping hand to him.

This bicycle was donated by Ankita and Himanshu Shah, on the occasion of their sons’ birthdays, Ayaan’s on Dec 25th and Ahaan’s on Dec 31st. Happy Birthday in advance dear Ayaan and Ahaan, from all of us. 🙂 Thank you dear Ankita and Himanshu.

Last December, Ahaan and Ayaan had donated a new bicycle to an old dhobi in Bandra, Mansaram ji. Ankita, their mother, had made it a point both her children hand the bicycle themselves to Mansaram ji, so that from an early age they get sensitized to doing charity with their own hands too. The accompanying picture is of Ahaan and Ayaan with Mansaram ji from last December. I reposted the moment as I love the way Ahaan is seated on the bicycle, and Ayaan leaning against it like a Hero, 😉 🙂 I love this pic.

This new bicycle was donated by us at Kokrud during our Pune to Ratnagiri Cyclothon in Dec 2015, It included a free medical health camp for nearly 3000 Zilla Parishand school children, sponsored by the NGO based in Pune, #MukulMadhavFoundation ; MMF. MMF helped us locate this beneficiary at Kokrud, through their rural sources.

Happy Xmas to all.

#RakeshAnandBakshi https://twitter.com/RakBak16

#BicycleAngels:
FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/
WordPress https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/
Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1

#Empower #Empowerment #Charity #Donation #Livelihood #Bicycles #Inspiration #RakeshBakshi #ProudIndian #JaiHind

Insuring lives on our streets. #BicycleAngels

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Since long I have had a reoccurring thought, these professionals, who ride a bicycle for livelihood, most of them, to my little knowledge, do not have insurance, Personal accident insurance. I feared, they are most vulnerable riding on our streets so many hours daily. (I too ride on our streets, but I have all kinds of insurance, they don’t.)

Shekhar, our past and repeat donor, had been telling me, since long now, that he wants to help our beneficiaries in some manner.

Today, I thought of asking Shekhar if he would like to pay for the Personal Accident Insurance of some or many of the beneficiaries of our help, whether they ride such bicycles to earn a livelihood, or they under privileged children who have Cerebral Palsy.

Shekhar agreed instantaneously! To arrange for, and pay for the Personal Accident Insurance of some or many of the beneficiaries.

May their family never ever have to claim the insurance of their loved one.

Shekhar may not like me posting a photo of his, but I had to post this one, as it reflects the compassion I have seen in him from the first moment he approached me three years ago to buy a bicycle for a less privileged person.

#RakeshAnandBakshi #BicycleAngels

 

Recipients of livelihood bicycle 153, 154 on our Pune to Ratnagiri Cyclothon Dec 2015.

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Recipients of livelihood bicycle 153, 154 on our Pune to Ratnagiri Cyclothon Dec 2015.

Beneficiaries Dharamveer Jaggad Kodhi (Motor winding mechanic) and Ganesh Rasilaal Kunwar (Cleaner at a commercial outlet.).

Thank you to Mukul Madhav Foundation and Surabhi Shah for donating two bicycles at Shirwal on Dec 8th 2015.

#MukulMadhavFoundation #BicycleAngels #RakeshAnandBakshi #DrRamDhillon

 

 

Being there for Lakshmi

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Being there for Lakshmi.

So we rode our bicycles from Pune to Ratnagiri. Professor Dr. Ram Dhillon and I. Not the entire nearly 350 Kms, but nearly three-fourth the way, I think.

Mukul Madhav Foundation, the NGO who carried us in their sincere and able arms, did a fine job; health check-up for nearly 3000 less privileged children studying at three Zilla Parishad Schools and one private. They also helped me identify eight deserving less privileged adults who needed bicycles to better their livelihoods with the aid of one. So that Bicycle Angels’ donors Surabhi Shah, Ankita Shah, Radika Radia, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Gauri Bakshi, Natasha Abdullah, Dilnaz and Dinyar Gilder can donate new bicycles to them; reaching out to complete strangers.

I made many observations. One stood out. While we were at a school at Pali and the free medical camp was in progress, in the distance I saw two teen girls approaching our desks. One was limping. The other teen, was holding the limping girl’s hand to aid her walk. Both were engrossed in conversation and laughter. The shorter girl of the two was limping, and as she got closer I realized both her young legs are affected by the devastating cruel polio. A disease, a thief actually that must be singularly responsible for stealing lakhs of able-limbs of our children, restricting their movement, their opportunities and their dreams. Lakshmi is one such girl.

I helped Lakshmi get on to the weighing scale. She balanced herself ably on the scale, even though both her legs were twisted, one more able than the other. I wrote Lakshmi’s weight on her soft palm and in silence watched her limp away to the next desk for her height to be measured. Her limp, her smile and her banter with her accompanying friend, intact.

Lakshmi’s friend always held on to her hand throughout the camp as they moved from one desk to another, the ENT, the Paediatrics, and the Dental desks. I enquired about Lakshmi and her friend. I was curious to know if the girl accompanying Lakshmi is her best friend in school. It is usually our best friends who may come to our aid.

I was told, every day at school a different student from Lakshmi’s class volunteers to help her walk and get around for her tasks. Yes. Every time Lakshmi needs to get up, for whatever reason, a different student volunteers to help her accomplish her varied challenging tasks. And not just her friends.

Learning this fact, I felt hope. Hope for my country, and humanity. Students from all religions and caste help her.
And as I watched an enthusiastic and sincere team of doctors and NGO crew work, I felt, that is exactly what even most good NGOs do. They offer the Lakshmis’ assistance to better their lives. For me, every child in that school who must have helped Lakshmi walk, and will help her in future,help anyone walk in future is a nothing less than a NGO.

The best lesson of all, the thief (polio) had stolen Lakshmi’s lower able limbs but could not lay claim on her laughter. As I watched Lakshmi’s friend lead her away, their banter and random laughters of childhood continued unabated

Smile. Laugh, when you can. Even those far less abled than us do so more often than most of us. 🙂 And let us be there for the Lakshmis’ you may happen to come across someday.Be a NGO to someone, by just even holding their hand.

Last, but not the least, it struck my co rider friend Dr Dhillon, is it possible to gift Lakhshmi semi-independence, if not complete, by salvaging mobility with surgical realignment of her legs, which would completely transform Lakshmi’s life for the better.

Thank you #MukulMadhavFoundation

#RakeshAnandBakshi #BicycleAngels

“Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi’ episode on Bicycle Angels. To be telecast on: Sunday, Dec 6th 2015, 11.20 am to 12 noon, Star Plus.

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“Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi’ episode on Bicycle Angels.
To be telecast on: Sunday, Dec 6th 2015, 11.20 am to 12 noon, Star Plus.

Web link to the episode (from 05.05 mins to 17.00 mins) : http://www.hotstar.com/tv/aaj-ki-raat/5778/project-nano-ganesh-ek-safar/1000077847

#BicycleAngels https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/ and https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

#RakeshAnandBakshi

#DirectorsDiaries https://www.facebook.com/DirectorsDiaries and https://rakbak16.wordpress.com/

#AmitabBachchan
#VijayPatil (Milk man/Newspaper man/Security guard)
#AnandBakshi
#JavedAli
#PalakMuchhal
#PalashMuchhal
#AajKiRaatHaiZindagi #AKRHZ

By inviting me on the show, BBC Worldwide, Star Plus and Mr Amitab Bachchan have honored the donors of Bicycle Angels too. After all, waterfalls are fed by rivers. Behind people seeming to do good are many invisible people supporting him or her. – Rakesh.

 

 

 

 

 

#WaterTaxi in Nairobi

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Handed some bottles of drinking water to less privileged individuals at the bus stop on a highway. I handed out these bottles on a particular highway where there’s no vendors or little shops alongside the road. People have to walk a distance from the nearby shanty to get a bus. It’s a tiring walk for many. A drink of water can be very rejuvenating. – Ritesh Barot Nairobi.‪#‎WaterTaxi‬

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/982882808439289/

 

 

#WaterTaxi in New York

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“Gave him a bottle of water today. He sits in the train station and is crippled /can’t walk. He was very happy to receive the bottle and I was thinking of one thing :
God bless you all, who are Water Taxis for the less privileged, and for sharing with all their thoughts too about what they do, becus many people are shy of admitting they do such acts regularly, and God bless you all for being part of this initiative by RB and Siddhi and giving me too an opportunity to feel that happiness. The Happiness of helping a fellow human being in need. 󾮞”

– Hema Sastry New York.

#WaterTaxi #WaterAngel
#HemaSastry

https://www.facebook.com/groups/982882808439289/