165th beneficiary of help (Livelihood bicycle)
What ‘izzat’ (respect) means to him.
Abdul Shaikh (40s)
Tea seller (Chai-Kaafi wala)
In January 2014, my writer friend Anuraadha Tiwari had donated a bicycle to Abdul. He was our 27th beneficiary of help.
However, after a few weeks, his bicycle was stolen, near Almeida Park, Bandra west.
I found this out when I saw him a couple of times walking around Bandra with his tea kettle. We had donated a used bicycle to him, in excellent working condition, yet it got stolen. Abdul felt bad that our donor’s money spent on the bicycle got wasted. I assured him it’s not his fault and nothing gets wasted in nature.
I offered to buy Abdul a new bicycle then. But he refused. He said, ‘a new one will get stolen even faster.’ I offered to buy him a used one. He refused. He said, ‘… if this next one gets stolen I will feel bad. I rather walk.’
Two years went by. Yesterday I happened to come across him in Bandra. Abdul was still walking around with his tea kettle. He had not bought a bicycle after that.
I asked Abdul, it happens to be Eid tomorrow, would he like to receive a bicycle as a gift for Eid? From one of our donors. We have one for him. He can have it within ten minutes if he would like that.
He agreed immediately. He admitted he had been thinking of buying a used one (second hand) just a few days ago.
I made Abdul this offer because he had valued our donor’s money in the past. But, there was another reason I never forgot this humble tea seller. He had a philosophy (and emotion) about what ‘izzat’, respect, could mean to a ‘common’ man like him.
I have often narrated his philosophy at lectures at schools, colleges and within my small social circle. Read about it here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152092086453213&set=oa.357090647765413&type=3&theater
Thank you to Vaania Vishal Chhabra for donating this bicycle to Abdul Shaikh. Happy Eid to all of us.
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
The 27th beneficiary post:
27th beneficiary of help. (Livelihood bicycle)
What respect means to this ‘common’ man.
The best thing about my tea profession is, RESPECT…! (Iss chai ke dhande mein bahut IZZAT hai!’ – Abdul Bhai.
Name: Abdul Shaikh.
Tea seller. (Chai-Coffee wala)
Abdul is from Lucknow, UP, and has been living in Mumbai since childhood, (his father was a tea seller and never owned a bicycle and always sold tea walking on foot and Abdul would walk alongside holding a glass-holder made of aluminum with 6 glasses and a can of water to clean the glasses.)
He is married and has two kids, one goes to school.
His most difficult time in life was when a builder in Bandra west made his father sign a document promising them a compensation of Rs 10 to 12 lacs for their hut space at Rajan Sherley Village, Bandra west; and after the signing the builder got a dozen goons and forced them off their land by paying them only Rs 12000 instead of the promised 12 lacs. Post that, he has never been able to own a house.
Though he accepted this bicycle, he was very worried that it may get stolen as the place he lives at in juhu Bandh road is not a secure environment, so he was reluctant to ride it away.
I assured him its okay if it gets stolen, as long as he has secured it very well with a strong chain and locks, he cannot do more than that so he cannot he held responsible beyond the precaution he takes to secure it! Only then he agreed to take it!
I asked him what is the best thing about his profession. His reply stunned me!!!
He replied: ‘I may be just a ‘tea’ seller for many people, but for some people I am a man they respect immensely, and that is what I like, that I have the their respect. They tell me they respect me a lot because I am a man who chooses to walk all day long selling tea, rests under trees and sits in the shade of tall buildings to escape the sun and rain, cold, therefore, for them I am a man who chooses to work hard and not beg nor steal for my meals!!
Their respect for me, even though I do not make much money in this profession, is a matter of great pride for me that some people still look up to me with so much respect, and they appreciate me in their lives even though I sell just’ tea’ on streets.
Yes, there is not much money in this field Saab, lekin aise din bhar chal chal ke, ya phir cycle chala chala ke, chai bechane mein izzat bahut hai.
He made me realize – ki paisa zaroori hai zindagi ke liye, lekin izzat bhi bahut zaroori hai jeene ke liye. (Money is important to lead a life, and respect is most important to live a life.)
Thank you to Anuraadha Tiwari for donating a new bicycle to Dhobi Rakesh Kumar, because Rakesh gave us in exchange this old cycle which we donated to Abdul Shaikh.
I must mention here, from my little and humble experience so far, quite a few vendors refused to accept a new bicycle in exchange of their old one for this reason – …. ‘Our old and used cycle is good for us, because a new one will get stolen even faster than an old one. So please give the new bike to someone who lives in a more secure environment, BECAUSE, I cannot afford losing even ONE day of work if my bike gets stolen. Most of us don’t have places to park them, as we live in places where even for a human being to enter we have to squeeze through an alley or corridor or climb a ladder to enter our home built on top of someone’s roof.’
Thank you to Siddharth Vora of Kohinoor cycles for the good service.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/ — with Anuraadh