158A) recipient of help, a livelihood bicycle.
“There are people in the world so poor, that God does not appear to them except in the form of a roti, or bread.”
Ram Anuj (45-50)
Watchman, in a residential housing society.
Ram’s mother died when he was a young. His father does not own land, and occasionally works as an agriculture labor. Which is not often. Because of which Ram could not be educated beyond class eight.
Ram suffered severe deprivation during childhood. Sadly, to describe his childhood circumstances I don’t need a vocabulary of more than three words – ‘hand to mouth.’
Deprivation pushed him to migrate. Bambai accepted him. Ram became a watchman. The only profession an uneducated poor youth could have got, he believes.
Beti bachao, beti padhao. It is a great initiative. Thanks BJP and other regimes before. However, is it possible to achieve for a father like Ram, who has four daughters and is the only earning member, at the salary of a watchman/gateman, Rs 4000 to 5000 a month.
The good news, his daughters are getting an education. Government aided. 🙂 I felt very happy helping Ram. Helping him will help his daughters. It reminded me of “Hungry man, reach for the book. For Education. It will be your weapon to rise above hunger..” – Bertolt Brecht.
The bicycle we gave Ram is second hand. Our previous beneficiary, Dhobi Mahadev (the 154A the recipient) donated his old bicycle to Ram, after we bought Dhobi Mahadev a new bicycle for which he even paid half the cost. However, Mahadev’s old bicycle was in a very bad state. We refurbished it completely before gifting it to Ram. Thanks to Dhobi Mahadev too for donating his old bicycle to Ram.
Ram was very grateful we helped him. Very. So, just before he left with his bicycle I casually asked him if he has ever helped strangers randomly, just like our donors helped him.
Ram said, “.. I do. Every now and then. When I come across a destitute on the streets, if the person has not eaten I offer him or her my own food tiffin.”
I looked at him a while.Then I asked, “What makes you want to help random strangers.”
Ram looked away. He was not with me any more. Then he said, “I cannot see another person hungry. (paused) I know how it feels to be hungry. (paused) During my childhood years, many times I did not get food daily.”
Ram’s eyes had turned moist. He looked down, and we both went silent.
I let him recover, and return from his unfortunate distant past, which I had forced him to travel to by asking him that question.
After Ram rode away, I received a message from two friends who wanted to hang at a café nearby after their gym routine.
I pondered on my own immediate existence: I bicycle long distances, and I walk and run short distances. But can people like us, who also visit amazing gyms and bicycle or run many many kms often, ever be stronger than those children, women and men who go hungry for days and sometimes years? I think not, because the latter are much stronger.
It is said, there are people in the world so poor that God does not appear to them except in the form of a roti, bread. And God does not even visit them every day. Maybe that is why they believe so deeply in his miracles?
Thank you to by rider friend Yogesh Shetty, for paying handsomely for the refurbishment of Ram’s (Dhobi Mahadev’s) old bicycle. It will serve their family well and for long.
And thank you to Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good service he provides us.
Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1
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