152A) recipient of help, a livelihood bicycle. “… Every time a farmer looks at the seed he is going to sow in the soil, he must have the same twinkle in his eyes. Because he too is sowing a dream.”

152A) recipient of help, a livelihood bicycle.

 

 

“…  Every time a farmer looks at the seed he is going to sow in the soil, he must have the same twinkle in his eyes. Because he too is sowing a dream.”

 

Ramchandra Tukaram Shinde. (52)

 

Farmer, and daily wages agriculture labor.

 

Ramchandra is a farmer and lives at Pali, Ratnagiri.

He works for daily wages as a farm worker, cultivating land for other farmers too. He has three daughters. The eldest is 24, and, he says, ‘she is of marriageable age’. She could not study beyond the tenth class, because she had to leave school to help the family earn a better livelihood. Post the tenth, she joined her father at farm work.

 

Even Ramchandra could not study beyond the tenth class, for the exact same reason. His father was a farmer and the family income was not sufficient for him to study any further. History repeated itself, but thankfully nor for Ramchandra’s three younger children. As they will be educated till they graduate, he is confident.

 

Ramchandra has a back issue, if he lifts any kind of weight or does excessive physical activity, even walking a lot, it causes him chronic backache. A cycle will make it easier for him, as he can let the bicycle roll a distance after a few pedals and cover distances easier and faster.

More than using it for his own work, the bicycle will be of use to his son to travel to school, which is 6 Kms from his village, and it will help them save Rs 12 a day on Bus fare.

 

Ramchandra feels he has only encountered struggles all his life so far, and has not really known happiness. Happiness will come, he is confident when his children’s’ education is complete. As it will help them build better lives. Better than what he could construct from his own childhood circumstances, and his limited education.

 

His childrens’ future will be bright with college degrees holding their hands when they step into the mainstream job market, he is confident. He really cheered up, even his upper body straightening up, when he mentioned education will be his family’s saviour. He mentioned it with a twinkle in his eyes. The twinkle being the dream he sees for them, and which many of us carry in our own eyes.

 

I asked his son, Gurunath, 16, what are his dreams, what would he like to follow as a profession after he graduates. He said, ‘I want to work with the Police’. As a farmer, I thought, a man loses control. Nature controls his destiny more than we can imagine. As a police official, I thought, one gains some sense of power over his or her circumstances, and over that of others too.

 

Ramcandra is a farmer. Long after he and his son left with their bicycle, I thought, while riding towards Ratnagiri that evening, the early evening Sun enveloping me with her sheer beauty, every time a farmer looks at the seed he is going to sow in the soil, he must have the same twinkle in his eyes. Because he too is sowing a dream.

The seed will soon disappear from his sight, only to begin her journey underground, her first steps In complete darkness. Like we are, without an education or experience. And it is the benevolence of nature that will help the seed emerge into the sunlight from that darkness.

 

Emerging from darkness to the light, is, exactly, what a father hopes to achieve for his family, his children, by providing them the very Sun in their hands – an education. Beginning first, on the lap of parents, and grandparents, (blessed be) and later in the lap of teachers, mentors and society.

 

That is why we must try and build the best Sun for them, when we ourselves someday reach above the clouds from where even the Sun looks down upon her benefactors. Our salute to all teachers and educators too, I thought as I rode into the setting orange Sun, loving her fleeting beauty and magic, towards Mukul Madhav Vidyalaya, the destination of our charity ride, and another Sun for many under privileged children at Golap, Ratnagiri.

 

 

This bicycle was donated to Ramchandra and his son by Gauri, Rashwinder and Ananya Bardha, Ananya is herself taking her very first steps into Kindergarten. Blessed be. 🙂 Thank you.

 

We handed the bicycle to him at Pali, en route our Pune to Ratnagiri Cyclothon in Dec 2015, which included a free medical health camp for nearly 3000 Zilla Parishand school children sponsored by #MukulMadhavFoundation, (MMF), the NGO based in Pune. MMF’s team helped us locate this beneficiary through their rural resources.

 

 

#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

 

 

#HumanityOurReligion #Empower #Empowerment #Charity #Donation #Livelihood #Bicycles #Inspiration #RakeshBakshi #ProudIndian #JaiHind #Humanize #Equalize #Spiritualize #BicycleAngels

 

Pali Farmer Ramchandra Tukaram Shinde
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

151A) recipient of help, a livelihood bicycle. “When a Muslim man and his wife are able to etch out a living making and selling Mangalsutras, I feel, …”

151A Kokrud Bangle Shabbir Natasha

151A) recipient of help, a livelihood bicycle.

 

“When a Muslim man and his wife are able to etch out a living making and selling Mangalsutras, I feel, …”

 

Shabbir Abdul Akhtar (Vategoankar) (50)

 

Bangles and Magalsutra maker (an artist) and seller. His wife makes them too.

 

I have remained fascinated by bangle sellers. My first childhood memory of one is of a bangles vendor who wore a Muslim white cap, had a mehendi color beard and would walk on the streets ringing a bicycle bell. To attract attention and shout out loud between rings ‘Bangdiwala! Choodiwala!” He was a cheerful old man, I remember. His bangles, and his smile, reflected the sun’s rays. I would equate the multiple colors on his bangle stand to the colorful Poppins candy that was a big seller those years.

 

Furthermore, ever since I was a child, I had heard many songs, lyrics, written by my dad too, in films like Do Raste (Bindiya Chamkegi, chudi khankegi), Lamhe (Mere haathon mein nau nau chudiyan hain), DDLJ (Dilwale Dhulania Le Jayenge) and innumerable other films, where the female protagonists conveyed their affection or approval of love or marriage to the persistent flirting hero through the medium of her colorful but fragile glass bangles.

 

Fragile. Yes. I grew up watching Hindi films in which when the married woman character intentionally broke their bangles, I wondered why they broke them when their husband had died. Thereafter, I saw them in white clothes and always in tears. Fragile destinies.

 

Many decades later, I realized it was the way widows were discriminated against. They lost their right to wear color, overnight, for no fault of theirs, symbolizing they had no right to live a happy life thereafter. A life imprisonment sort of. A woman made a slave, often, by her in-laws, who even sometimes blamed her for their son’s death, but did not hesitate to make her cook and clean for them.

 

It was decades later, when I happened to chance upon a translation of quotes from various sacred Hindu scriptures, that I read a passage that enlightened me … it quoted verses from the Bhagwad Gita too …. ‘Women who lose their husband to death, should not travel, in their mind, to the place he has. They should continue to live their lives in the world of the living, not giving up on worldly needs, need for companionship, a life mate, and laughter, happiness.

I have never been able to fathom how why when people tweaked and twisted the scriptures to enslave widows and punish them. Human greed to suppress and enslave were responsible.

 

Let us return to the subject of this post, Shabbir. He lives at Kokrud, a village in Sangli. He has an old bicycle and uses it to travel to villages in the vicinity to sell bangles. He rides up to 10 to 20 kms between various villages.

The great thing is, he will also use the bicycle for taking his children, ‘double-seat’, to school.

 

Shabbir could not study beyond class three, because his father could not sustain his further education. He began earning a livelihood from his childhood days.

 

Shabbir has a son and daughter, and thank God he is able to provide them an education far beyond his own. They are studying at the Zilla Parishad school at Kokrud. The school where Mukul Madhav Foundation executed a free medical camp for the nearly 500 less privileged children. Shabbir was recommended to us by the school authorities.

 

Shabbir, is a Muslim, and he and his wife make Mangalsutras that are purchased and worn by married Hindu women only. They are able to educate and feed their family from this profession. #TolerantIndia! #JaiHInd!

 

One more thing. Kokrud will remain etched in my memory forever. This is the school where I happened t meet a very special child, a girl. She must have been 8 or 9 years young, and she had a very special need.

I have promised myself we will fulfill her need. I will write about her someday, as soon as I fulfill my promise. Ironically, she is so young that she is unaware of the impact of her loss, and that makes us want to help her, before she becomes aware of what a loss can really mean in the long term when we leave childhood far far behind.

 

This bicycle was donated to Shabbir Bangdiwala Chudiwala Akhtar by Natasha and Khurram Abdulla. Thank you.

We handed the bicycle to Shabbir at Kokrud en route our Pune to Ratnagiri Cyclothon in Dec 2015, which included a free medical health camp for nearly 3000 Zilla Parishand school children sponsored by #MukulMadhavFoundation, (MMF), the NGO based in Pune. MMF’s team helped us locate this beneficiary through their rural resources.

 

#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

 

#HumanityOurReligion #Empower #Empowerment #Charity #Donation #Livelihood #Bicycles #Inspiration #RakeshBakshi #ProudIndian #JaiHind #Humanize #Equalize #Spiritualize #BicycleAngels

 

 

 

150A) recipient of help, a livelihood bicycle. The biggest enemy we can have is ourselves; when we refuse to see that the Sun’s rays will eventually fall upon us too.

150A Ratnagiri Newspaper Maruti Sadu Padyar Priyanka

150A) recipient of help, a livelihood bicycle.

The biggest enemy we can have is ourselves; when we refuse to see that the Sun’s rays will eventually fall upon us too.

Maruti Sadu Padyar (36)

When I first saw Maruti, he came across as sad, depressed, hopeless, defeated, a real ‘bechara’. Sorry to use such a pity-full word, because any act executed from a feeling of pity is never desirable and pity often clouds our perception of the victim. Pity steals dignity from the victim of your pity.

Rarely does it happen, that on someone’s physical appearance I have decided that he/she must be helped by us. I wanted to help this fellow, Maruti, right upon seeing him. And what an irony, that such most unfortunate people are the ones you feel even more joy helping.

Maruti, another name for Lord Hanuman JI, lives at Pangalewadi, Pawas, Ratnagiri. We met him at the end of our Pune to Ratnagiri bicycle ride in Dec 2015. Thanks to Mukul Madhav Foundation. His family consists of himself, his bed ridden father and his old uncle. Maruti is unmarried, and there are no surviving female members in their family. He cooks the daily meals for his family.

Maruti wakes up early morning and delivers newspaper to 25 houses. He does not own a bicycle, so he delivers them on foot. He never believed it is possible for him to ever own a bicycle.
It seemed to me, that Maruti never applied his mind that having a bicycle can increase his area of operation and thus his income. He never thought he will ever be able to afford one. That, made me sad; a man who cannot see the sun even during cloudless skies. Maybe he did hope for owning a bicycle, but, was not able to save enough money to buy even a second hand one.

Maruti earns Rs. 50/- per month per newspaper and has only 25 clients at Pawas. Having just a few homes to deliver newspapers to, Maruti works as a manual laborer whenever possible.
However, it is not that easy finding even manual work. The average number of days in a month he finds manual work is 12, and @ Rs. 200/- per day, I believe Maruti clearly falls below the poverty line. Thankfully, he has a roof over his head, but it is in a dilapidated condition, just like the walls. He was one of the rare beneficiaries we have helped who did not have a cell phone.

I found it hard making Maruti speak. I had to literally put words in his mouth. I had to really convince him about how owning a bicycle can make him fly like Lord Hanuman Ji (Maruti) on his garuda bird. It was when I invoked the name of Lord Hanuman JI that Mariti’s eyes went moist.
And it is only then that I felt Maruti had finally made a connection with me.

Because Maruti now looked at me with some hope, I explained to him how he can use the bicycle to add milk as an additional product, other than newspapers, to deliver to people’s homes, or to the chai walas in Ratnagiri. He can work for some restaurants in the evenings that do home delivery of food parcels and earn some more money.
Distances that overwhelmed him once will now become slaves to his brand new two wheels soon.

I tried hard to make Maruti smile, because I was determined to see him smile before I leave. I may never ever meet him ever again. I kept encouraging him on the potential, how owning a bicycle can help him increase his income more than two fold. And only when I saw a halfhearted faint smile slip out of his lips I knew his interview was finally over. Blessed be.

The biggest enemy we can have is ourselves; when we refuse to see that the Sun’s rays will eventually fall upon us too. I left Ratnagiri with the satisfaction that Maruti sees hope. The same hope that just as his namesake, Lord Hanuman JI, instills in us at the mere mention of his name or the chalisa (Hanuman-chant).
I promised Dr Ashutosh I will pay for Maruti’s bike’s first complete service and a change of tyres the very first time he needs it executed, which may be by the time I revisit Ratnagiri same time next year.

This brand new smile 🙂 was gifted by Priyanka & Advait Chaturvedi on the occasion of her birthday (Jan 3rd 🙂 ) and we all wish Priyanka “Happy birthday, and blessed be.”

We handed the bicycle to Maruti at Ratnagiri, at Mukul Madhav Vidayalaya, Golap, at the end of our Pune to Ratnagiri Cyclothon in Dec 2015, which included a free medical health camp for nearly 3000 Zilla Parishand school children sponsored by #MukulMadhavFoundation, (MMF), the NGO based in Pune. MMF’s team helped us locate this beneficiary through their rural sources.

#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

#HumanityOurReligion #Empower #Empowerment #Charity #Donation #Livelihood #Bicycles #Inspiration #RakeshBakshi #ProudIndian #JaiHind #Humanize #Equalize #Spiritualize #BicycleAngels

149A) recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : “…. who knew then, that many of these people must have suffered long term health issues while their skill on the mill helped my mother and our khachanchis’ and maharajs’ (cooks) make soft parathas naan rotis for us.”

149A) recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :

 

“…. who knew then, that many of these people must have suffered long term health issues while their skill on the mill helped my mother and our khachanchis’ and maharajs’ (cooks) make soft parathas naan rotis for us.”

 

Kaleem (51)

 

Tea Coffee Biscuit seller.

 

Kaleem is from UP, and lives in Bandra East. Once upon a time, he used to be a Kadia (Mason), and his forefathers were masons too.

A few years ago, Kaleem suffered from a lung ailment, and he still does, most probably because of the regular breathing in of cement dust and lime fumes at work. He thinks he may have developed the lung disorder because of that. I believe that is possibly.

 

In the past, when we donated a bicycle to a man who worked at a flour mill, and another person who once painted walls, both had mentioned they are aware that people of their profession sometimes die quite early because of the fumes they cannot escape. Even though they usually cover their mouth and nose with their handkerchief.

I never knew, until then, that microscopic dust from wheat, rice and other grains enters into their lungs, while the mill is humbling hard grain to soft dust.

 

It made me reflect of the times my mother or cook must have bargained hard with the flour mill guys while getting their grains crushed, and pay them what they thought was a reasonable price for the job. But who knew then that many of these people must have suffered long term health issues while their skill on the mill helped my mother and our khachanchis’ and maharajs’ (cooks) make soft parathas naan rotis for us.

I have often bargained hard even with painters, who made my room and house so beautiful with their expert strokes. I hope those people did not suffer because of the lead that once was a major ingredient in paints.

 

Kaleem’s family comprises of a son, 16, daughter, 14, and a son, 18. All three were once studying, but I think now they have stopped studying because they need to supplement the family income. His daughter, I think, is going to a madrassa or a government school or college, I am not certain if she is.

 

So here was a once-upon-a-rime-great-mason, now selling chai coffee biscuits on streets…? Not that selling tea is not dignified. In fact, Abdul, from Santacruz, a tea seller, had told me “… my friends and relatives respect me immensely, ‘meri bahot izzat karte hain’ , because they consider me, or anyone selling tea walking on streets, a most respectful and dignified profession, rather than resorting to stealing and begging.”

 

Kaleem had repeatedly mentioned his financial security and life got nearly destroyed after he made the decision to sell his house in Bandra East and migrate to his village and build a bigger house there.

 

He said with pride nostalgia and melancholy “… I have built many great structures with my masonry skills, and so have my father and his father. But, alas, my lung illness has robbed me of the only profession my family and I have known since my childhood. But after we migrated to my village, and I spent all my savings on building a really good house for us, my family could not live in the village, there was no regular electricity and too much mosquitoes and many other reasons. We had to sell our house and return to live in Mumbai, on rent.

I cannot possibly return to masonry work, and being uneducated I feel selling tea and coffee is an option I have to earn a regular income, however little it be, it will keep me active and bring some food on the table. I have never done this kind of work before. I was always a skilled craftsman.”

 

This is when Kaleem’s eyes went moist. He paused a bit to gather his dignity he feared he may have lost in a stranger’s presence. I was saddened looking at his spirit bite dust.

 

I am glad our two donors, Murali Krishnan and Rana Roy, helped Kaleem buy his new vehicle of livelihood. Kaleem was okay with receiving a second hand bicycle from us. But, we decided to give Kaleem Bhai a new bicycle. It was the least we could do to honor his past skills of a master mason. Moreover, Kaleem was willing to contribute half the cost for the new one, and he did pay half its cost. Truly a deserving candidate.

 

All the best to Kaleem for making a brand new start with this bicycle. We pray his palms never have to face the sky seeking alms.

 

Happy new year to all of you, and to all the chai and coffee walas who keep us warm in a few sips, especially on winter nights and early mornings on our cold cold streets.

 

Since it’s a brand new year,  I wish to end on a humorous note, I decided to touch upon the ‘skill’ some people have 😉

 

 

I’m skilled!

 

At standing still I have a skill

that truly is unique.

At sleeping I’m unquestionably,

on a winning streak.

 

At lying down I’m unsurpassed;

I’m simply undefeated.

At sitting I’m the reigning champ;

I’ll never be unseated.

 

At drifting in a daydream

it is obvious I’m blessed.

At starting at the TV

I’m undoubtedly the best.

 

At doing nothing

I’m even better than you’d think.

At everything besides that, though,

I’d have to say I stink.

 

I hope someday I’ll maybe learn

another kind of skill.

Until then I’m content to be

the best at standing still. 😉

 

© Kenn Nesbitt

 

Thank you Rana Roy and Murali Krishnan for helping Kaleem purchase this bicycle; and thank you to Siddhath Vora of Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good discount and service he provides us on the purchase of bicycles.

 

#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

 

#HumanityOurReligion #Empower #Empowerment #Charity #Donation #Livelihood #Bicycles #Inspiration #RakeshBakshi #ProudIndian #JaiHind #Humanize #Equalize #Spiritualize #BicycleAngels149A Tea Kaleem.JPG