171st beneficiary of help – Smiley Magnets & Friendship – Lessons for us.

 

171st beneficiary of help (School children)
 
I performed an informal workshop (Smiley Magnets & Friendship – Lessons for us.) with these school children, by gifting them magnets and then playfully conveying to them the message that magnets can offer us – Just as magnets stick to each other, we need to stick-together as classmates, friends, family, neighbors and eventually as humans. Because humans of today and tomorrow will stand by each other.
There was one moment, during this class with students from 3rd grade, I had asked the children if any of them is a magnet (good friend) at home for his family? A boy, must be 8 years young, raised his hand and said, “I am a magnet for my father. His hair had grown very long and he was refusing to get it trimmed. I removed money from a clay pot (a kind of Piggy-bank) I had been saving it in, and handed it to my father and told him ‘I will pay for your hair cut. Papa please go get one right now.’ Hahahahahaha
 
I called this little boy to the front of the class and gave him a hug, while the other children clapped for him. I make the children clap for any student who expresses why he or she believes they are magnets, good friends, for their classmates, teacher, family or neighbors. Because, being a good friend to someone is like two magnets coming together, they stick-together and thus they should be singled out for appreciation and encouragement.
 
However, the rare moments that always humble me are when girls aged 10-11 raise their hands to share: “I am a magnet for my Mummy, because I make all the chapattis (bread) at night for dinner.” – “I clean all the bartans (utensils) after my family has eaten. So I too am a magnet for my family.” – “I look after my younger brother/sister at home when Mummy or Daddy get late at work and feed the younger ones on time.”
Boys aged 8-9 also look after their younger siblings at home. And these children are happy and proud sharing such facts about helping their Mummys and Daddies, siblings.
 
So many of these children become caregivers at such a young age. I reflected on my own life, a privileged one. I think I became a (kind of) caregiver, or should I say more responsible, only post 25 when I got married. Some people believe many of these children are late bloomers. I think many of us, the privileged, are really the late bloomers.
 
It is from experiencing such moments that I have never ever returned empty hearted from these workshops. It has helped my heart grow. And I hope those of the children too.
 
I do not know how many of you support Teach For India. I have not interacted much with their ‘fellows’ (fellowships), but the few occasions I have visited their classrooms, and they are mostly female teachers, even those teaching at ‘nukkad’ & pavement based classrooms, I observed they are doing a great job in being a kind of caregiver too. In thousands of classrooms and pavement schools. Love.
 
Thank you Kanika Kedia & friends Heena Kalantri, Neha Mehra, Arpita Mehta, Sakshi Jiwarajka, Anushka Kapur, Megha Kulchandani for gifting these children this opportunity.
 
Thank you #MukulMadhavFoundation & #FinolexPipes Pune, for permitting me to conduct this workshop during their free medical camp at Chetan Dattaji Gaikwad English Medium School, Khadki, Pune.
 
Thank you teacher didi Alisha Mahajan for assisting me & didis Malavika and Prakita too for initiating these sessions at Sarasvati Vidalaya.
 
#BicycleAngels
#RakeshAnandBakshi.
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi https://twitter.com/RakBak16
 
#BicycleAngels:
 
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople
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170th beneficiary – Books for Kranti.

170th beneficiary of help (New Books)

 

 

Kranti @ http://www.kranti-india.org

 

 

A few months ago, June 10th 2016, I came across a feature in the TOI by two journalists. The feature mentioned – “Shweta Katti, who shot to fame after becoming the first girl from the city’s oldest red-light area, Kamathipura, to study in the US, intends to set up a cafe-cum community-center in the neighborhood where she grew up.” …..

 

I reached out to the two journalists on Twitter, informing them I propose to organize a bicycle ride to promote Shweta’s mission. They did not acknowledge they had read my tweet.

 

After a week, I searched for Shweta on FB and found out she is associated with Kranti, and I contacted them. Kranti responded to me within minutes. 🙂

 

Kranti empowers girls born in Mumbai’s oldest known sex district for higher education and social change. (To know more about Kranti you may view this short video clip I had shot when we organized a Donate A Book ride last month: https://www.facebook.com/rakesh.anand.bakshi/videos/vb.507318212/10154265657493213/?type=2&theater)

 

I decided to organize a ‘Donate a Book ride’ within and outside my cycling fraternity. Aatish Chhabria, Siddharth Vora, Pankaj Patil kindly associated with us to organize a ride to donate our books, I mean those we have read and would love to give away so someone else can share its treasures. I received a good response from many of my non-cyclist pals too.

 

(Surprisingly, two cyclist pals I had messaged to help us spread the word did not even reply to my message. In my tiny world of friends, I believe friends respond, even if to say no. 🙂 Anyways, thank you.)

 

Thanks to some riders and many of my non-cyclist friends, our very tiny book donation drive for Kranti was very successful. 🙂 Link to our ride: https://www.facebook.com/events/589789777861415/)

 

However, much before all of this – my niece, Amrita Divay, had responded. She volunteered to buy books for Kranti’s female students and inmates (they are aged 12 to 22). (Some donors have sponsored their education in foreign universities.) One of their volunteers, an American citizen based in the US, sent me a list of books Kranti’s library and hostel at Vakola, Santacruz East, needs.

 

Amrita, without the blink of her eyelid, agreed to do the needful, and was even willing to go beyond the donation amount she had already committed, She went online and purchased the following books for these precious girls, less privileged souls, who are at the threshold of personal change and social change outside themselves.

And, Amrita went to their library to gift it to them; that was like ‘wow!’ I say.

 

The books she purchased for Kranti:

 

Introducing Psychology, Introducing Philosophy, Introducing Counselling, Introducing Ethics for Everyday Life, Introducing Logic, Introducing Quantum Theory, Introducing Time, Introducing Child Psychology, Introducing Hinduism, Introducing Islam, Introducing Assertiveness, Introducing Neurolinguistics Programming, Introducing Mindfulness, Introducing Positive Psychology, Introducing Self Esteem, Introducing Emotional Intelligence, Introducing Body Language, Introducing Stephen Hawking, Introducing Psychology of Relationship, Introducing Overcoming Phobias, Introducing Leadership, Introducing Happiness,

 

I was super impressed by the books they wanted! Especially – Introducing Self-Esteem, Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness, and Happiness.

This made me dam happy. And must have delighted enthusiastic Amrita too. Because with books like these, these girls at Kranti be inspired and inspire those they encounter on their long & uphill path ahead.

 

Thank you Amrita.

 

Mann Joshi, a teen rider pal of mine told me after our book donation ride – Rakesh, thank you for introducing me to this organisation. This visit helped me realise how privileged I am and I need to help those who are not.

 

#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

 

 

#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

 

169th beneficiary of help – A tale of two mothers. Mom/Ammi & Mummy.

 

169th beneficiary of help (livelihood bicycle)

 

A tale of two mothers.

 

Beneficiary of bicycle – Baban Shaikh (40’s. From UP.); Profession – Bread seller.

 

This bicycle donation is from a daughter (Sabira) in fond memory of her Ammi, Mom, whose birthday is today, 10th August. So I decided this time we will not share information about the beneficiary. (That information has already been shared with the donor, Sabira.)

 

This time, I asked the donor, Sabira, to write a tribute for her Ammi, in whose memory she donated this new bicycle.

 

A daughter remembers her Mom, ‘Hasina Lakdawala’, whose life was about love, knowledge and obedience.

 

“Dear Mom.

 

So today is the 10th of August, 2016. If you were with us today, though you continue to reside in our hearts, we would be joyfully celebrating your 74th birthday.

Of course not with a cake, but with your favorite pistachio ice cream and falooda from Shalimar! And, with all your grandchildren wanting to take selfies with you interrupted by your usual refusal to pose, and the banter continual and vivacious… 🙂 “

 

‘Yes .. Presenting to you all, my Mother, Hasina Lakdawala.

She was just not my “Mom”.. She was a soul par excellence for many, a mentor, a guide, a teacher, a preacher. Her life proved that what she spoke from the pulpit was put into action. Her kind words soothed a heavy heart, and her charitable nature helped many a family survive stressful days!!.

 

After Mom’s passing away in the summer of 2013, widows and orphans would visit us and grieve over her pious soul, who helped them. At times with their grocery bills or their children’s school fees.

 

The month of Ramadan would be extra busy for her, when she enthusiastically made many food baskets and went on her distribution mission (Diabetes not withstanding) seeking the less fortunate … I wonder whose loss is greater.. 😦

 

It is said that Death is the ‘END”. Similarly .many philosophers have called it ‘Termination of man’s journey’ {Amre Adami}. Of course, I consider this is the physical end of the human being, but, the end is different for different people depending on their beliefs. The Holy Qura’an talks about a certain group of people when they are caused to die: Those whom the angels cause to die in a good state, say Peace be upon you, enter the garden (of Paradise) for what you did.’ Surah Nahl: Verse 32. Did You notice the words of the ayat here – ‘FOR WHAT YOU DID’. Deeds matter.

 

Zakira Hasina.. Mom to us kids.. Hasina Aunty to our entire community in Mumbai. She was a lady always ‘In Action!’ … whether it was the Theology class she attended, or the Friday Night prayer programs she conducted.. or the Majilises (Sermons) she recited over the tragedies of Prophet Muhammad’s Household (Peace be upon them) her commitment) to her Beliefs shone through.

 

The people at the Mehfil (Center) she served mourned at the ‘Emptiness of the pulpit’, and enough is it for a Teacher to say about her Student that she was Dedicated and Committed to her Master, The Imam of the Time 🙂

 

Smile Mom, the teacher you respected so much, honoured you thus.. “Her faith and belief in her Deen, her fear of the Just God, and in the Day of Accounting .. These were the parameters she raised. Not only with her children, but her three granddaughters too.

 

She was one of the finest teachers Allah (SWT) could have ever granted us.. As my Sister in law and I have embarked upon our missions of Majalises (Sermons) all over the world, she was the guardian to our children.. nourished and nurtured their bodies and their souls.. How many moments she stood over them as an “Askaari (meaning ‘Watchman’ in Kswahili language) as the three of them raced through their Namaz.. correcting them.. Patiently teaching them verses of the Qur’an and supplications …

 

To her family, her siblings, 3 brothers and 3 sisters.. Mom was a living example of the Ideal Siley Rahmi (Ties of Mercy), mentioned in the Qur’an. She wove our family into a beautiful string, tightly knit… strong.. with such a heart that her nephews and nieces mourned her passing as ‘losing” their own Mothe’!!! To mention just listing a few adjectives used by my cousins… her friends and acquaintances to describe her, Elegant.. Poised.. Graceful.. Legendary.. Compassionate.. Pious.. Jannati (Heavenly)…

 

Her life was all about Obedience to Allah (SWT). Not only in words, but in actions too.

Sabira.’

 

When I bicycle early morning, sometimes I hear the ‘azaan’ being recited/sung from the loudspeakers of Bandra masjid as I ride by. I asked Sabira to send me an audio link to any recitation that must have been her mother’s favorite. She did: http://www.imamhusain.com/duas/mp3/SALAWAT.MP3

 

I would like to conclude by adding, tomorrow is the death anniversary of my own mother, my ‘mummy’, Kamla Mohan Bakshi. She was the guiding force behind my father who today some people consider a legend. Not just that, her sisters and her nieces and nephews miss her as much as I do.

Sabira’s gratitude and benevolence could not have arrived in our lives (two bros, two sisters, nephews, nieces…) at a better time than today; today being a day one good soul (Mom/Ammi) arrived, and tomorrow being one when a soul as loving (Mummy) travelled beyond our horizon. (And my mummy loved falooda ice cream too! 🙂 )

 

To conclude, Sabira had mentioned, “The death of a Mother is the first sorrow wept without her.”

I true that.

 

Thank you Sabira for purchasing this bicycle. Baban Shaikh contributed nearly half its cost.

 

And Thank you Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good service.

 

#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

 

#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

 

168th beneficiary of help (livelihood bicycle) – First world problems.

168 Newspaper Ramnarayan donor kirraann N

168th beneficiary of help (livelihood bicycle)
 
Ramnarayan Yadav. (45-50)
 
First world problems.
 
Newspaper vendor
 
Ramnarayan is from UP. His father was a newspaper vendor too. His family lives in UP. He lives and delivers newspaper in Bandra west.
 
His daughter is married and his sons are working. His elder son also delivers newspapers. His younger son is working on their small parcel of land back in the village, and managing to fend for their family quite adequately.
 
Though I made attempts to draw Ramnarayan into a deeper conversation, he did not have much to tell me about his life until now. He came across as someone who takes everything in his stride with the attitude ‘No big deal. No sweat. Things can be worse.’ Moreover, he had a constant ‘poker face’ expression throughout our conversation.
 
He mentioned, that a tumor had once appeared on his cheek, and doctors removed it because it was ‘cancerous’. He spent about a lac or two on its surgery and cure. There has been no reoccurrence of cancerous growth in that region thereafter. He feels he is fortunate to have survived it. He believes in God and his miracles, and attributes all his good luck and progress to God’s kindness. He informed me all of his with a poker face expression.
 
I continued to persist, and asked him if he has faced any other severe difficulties or challenges in life. He thought and said, ‘I have always had enough to eat. Life and God have been quite good to me.” (Again, poker faced.)
 
I thought, this guy does not view his less or under privileged life (that is how many of us would view his life, I guess, I think) as anything to really ‘talk’, crib, lament, complain, cry, about. He did not think of whatever he may have been through as a big deal or that he has been singled out for some unfortunate experiences. Now that’s a cool guy, I thought.
 
The few challenges he has faced, that I know of from him, he spoke about them as disinterestedly or dismissively as we people dismiss talks of the chances of celebrities and politicians being punished for a crime they have allegedly committed. There really wasn’t much else he had to tell me about his life.
So, I decided to share some ‘First world problems’ with you. 😉 Enjoy them in a lighter vein, and post some that you have come across in the comments below. 🙂
 
Some or us peeps get really upset and frustrated over:
 
My 7 dollars Starbucks latte came with ONE espresso shot, instead of the TWO I asked for! F#@^&!!!
 
My daddy bought me a car today !!!! . It’s not the Mercedes I really wanted but at least it’s something :-////
 
Muuuuuuuummmmm!! The fucking showers gone cold again!
 
Ugh, there are literally NO Pokéstops near my penthouse condo. I HAVE TO MOVE residence.
 
Shit! I ran out of pokeballs
 
Man! I am so f broke I drank water straight from the tap instead of buying it.
 
I’m hungry… but I’m already in bed, oh the dilemma!
 
Just dropped avocado all over my new white trainers. Shit!
 
I hate when I eat chicken wings because my thumb gets so greasy it won’t unlock my phone6
 
My favorite eyebrow is on my least favorite side of my face. ughhhhhh!
 
Worst part about getting a new phone is downloading all the apps again and signing into my accounts
 
I hate being on a flight that does not have a good looking air hostess
 
I am never going to Taco bell again, they ran out of Mild Sauce.
 
I cant sleep without a white ironed bed sheet under me
 
I’m too bloody short to look out of the open roof of my Range Rover
 
Twitter is down, and I am losing out on whats trending
 
My teeth hurt so bad, because I am eating too much sugar and not flossing regularly.
 
Phone’s about to die & my charger isn’t long enough to reach my bed
 
If you know more #FirstWorldProblems you may post them below in comments. 🙂 🙂 🙂
 
Third World problems: 1) Farmers’ suicide notes are not addressed to family or friend; they are addressed to the PM, or Finance Minister, or President of India then. Meaning they consider themselves victims of govt policy. 😪
2) Poor Dalits get water last during water-rationing in drought.
3) Villagers pay Re 1 per litre of water; whereas the 24 beer factories in Marathwada pay four paise per litre and consume Three million litres daily 😢
4) Largest migration in India happened between 2001 & 2011, not post 1947 partition.
 
Ramnarayan had wanted a new bicycle more than a year ago, but he was unable to gather the amount he was willing to contribute towards its purchase.
Thank you Kirraann Ramesh Nichani for purchasing this new bicycle for him. He contributed nearly half its cost.
 
Thank you to Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good service.
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi https://twitter.com/RakBak16
 
#BicycleAngels:
 
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople