164th beneficiary of help. (Livelihood bicycle)
“We create our own world with the hope of miracles so that we can escape the harsh one awaiting us outside our own doors.”
Parasnath Jaiswal. (56)
Parasnath. Not a gardener by choice. He was once working for a person who fabricated water tankers. He left that job and took to gardening. He built his humble life and successful family from it. His ancestors were engaged in agriculture.
Parasnath has two sons, 25, and 18. The eldest is engaged in agriculture back in the village, and the younger one is studying in college. He provided both his sons the education his father could not for him. He had a daughter, she died due to an illness when she was 15.
I came across Parasnath while walking on Perry road. He was on his way home at dusk. Both, his bicycle and he, equally fragile, wrinkled and aged. We decided to buy him a new one, it was 18 years old, and in exchange for a new one he agreed to give us his old bicycle.
(We refurbished Parasnath’s old bicycle, thanks to another donor, Vishal Chhabra, and we will offer it to a worthy person as and when a worthy opportunity presents itself.)
Rarely do I come across beneficiaries from whom we do not wish to take any contribution. Parasnath was one such person. Why? I do not know.
I spoke in length with him. I asked Parasnath if he believes in God and his miracles. I learnt from him, a few years ago he had fallen very very ill. He remained bed ridden for a year nearly. His father mortgaged their ancestral land to a rich Brahman in their village to pay for his medical expenses. Finally, it was a doctor in their village who cured, revived him. Eventually they paid back the loan and got their land back from the lender.
Earlier, when I had asked him his age he had said he is 56. I could not believe it. I had assumed, from his wrinkles and fragile body, he was in his 70s. Not that the people I know in their 70s are like that. But such was the devastation his illness had left behind as a daily reminder.
I think, falling very ill makes us miss the days we had control over our bodies, miss our independence, and that is also why falling ill feels so very terrible to us.
Parasnath considers that doctor one of his Gods. He had said, “I was so badly sick, for so long, everyone thought I would die. My family had even begun mourning. Yet, the fact that I recovered, and to top it all I could still produce three children after my severe illness that lasted a year, for me was a miracle of God.”
Some people do not believe in God and religion. Cool. Each to his or her own beliefs. I myself am an agnostic now and then, though I will still perform a prayer ritual sincerely when I have to, out of respect, but I do not promote a world without religion and God. But I do, one without myths and superstitions, like women should be allowed to pray at all ‘most-sacred’ spots in places of worship, and be allowed in places of worship through the month even if they on menstruation, and places of worship be open to all caste and creed, like Sikh Gurudwars are.
But, especially when you are very poor and very sick, God, religion, superstitions, give hope and help us keep the faith in dawn. When a loved one is ill, or if we fall very ill, we want to believe in God’s miracle. I once walked from Bandra to a temple at Babulnath to pray my Dad return home from a coma. I do not wish for a world without God and religion. Just that, religion today must embrace many teachings from science too. Those that don’t, will get isolated and become extinct.
I had read somewhere, we create our own world with the hope of miracles so that we can escape the harsh one awaiting us outside our own doors.
Miracles. For me, the fact I can walk and or ride a bicycle every day in any direction my heart feels at that moment, and I have a few people in my world who adore me and are kind to embrace my love for them, (and so many other tiny blessings and minor abilities) are nothing less than miracles.
Thank you Amol Ghag and Samir & Dipalee Date, for buying this bicycle for Parasnath. And thank you Vaania Vishal Chhabra for refurbishing his old bicycle which we will be donating soon.
Thank you to Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good service.
Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1