Sr. No. 173
A livelihood bicycle.
Jayantilal Gada (60)
Jayantilal sells milk from a pavement opposite Maneckji Cooper School, Juhu Tara Road. Originally from Gujarat, he resides at a chawl at Santacruz west.
Jayantilal has been delivering milk since 1973. It was not his first choice of profession/occupation. He did not arrive in Bombay to become a milk man. When he was a teen, an acquaintance from his village brought him to Bombay to work at his grocery store. After working for him for a year or so, his ‘seth’ (boss) cheated him on his entire year’s wages, by not sending his accumulated wages to his family back in the village.
Jayantilal did not fight with his boss. He left the job. Broke, no savings, he could not find employment immediately, and for a few days he went with less than a meal a day, and sometimes nothing,. Because he did not want to beg.
Living on the pavement at Juhu, near that same grocer who had cheated him, Jayantilal befriended a vegetable vendor. After a few days, the vegetable vendor realised Jayantilal has no money, no place to sleep and has been lying that he has been having his meals daily. He told Jayantilal he could have asked him for help.
Jayatilal said “I noticed you travel far away to Dadar every morning at 5 am to buy vegetables. You bring them by train carrying them on our head and shoulder. You are working very hard for a living. While I am not. I cannot find a job. I feel embarrassed asking you for help. I went hungry thinking I will find a job soon and eat. But a job has evaded me so far.” The vendor helped him.
Jayatilal soon found an opening as a milk delivery boy. I think, an established milk vendor in Juhu area was short of delivery boys, and gave him a chance to work for him. He was very impressed by Jayantilal’s sense of discipline. Jayantilal would never arrive late and did not indulge in cheating him in any way. One fine day he handed over a big chunk of his milk delivery route to Jayantilal.
This opportunity established Jayantilal as a reliable delivery man in Juhu. Over the years he was able to rent a roof, marry and raise children. One of his son’s is a motor vehicle driver.
One unique thing about Jayantilal, even today at 60 he is unwilling to bear the slightest of abuse. Khudgarz, self-respecting, and a man of high self-esteem, is how I would define him. He spoke with a lot of respect. He gives izzat, (respect) and demands izzat in return. At 60, to me his spine seemed more firm than the steel frame of his brand new Hercules.
Some people may consider doodh walas, pau walas etc ‘small’, and not respect them. Yet, these so called ‘small’ people do not throw away the respect that they carry within. Respect for themselves and others. They harbour it preciously and closely like sea breeze harbours salt. It’s always there. Inseparable.
I came across a poem about how some people throw respect away. I decided to share it here.
Love is freely given,
but respect must be earned.
Even self respect does not come easy,
it’s a lesson toughly learnt.
Feelings can be fragile,
Respect takes more than charm.
When you make belittle or disrespect others,
you never know how much you harm.
When the end of life confronts you,
will you know the words to say?
Or will you express pain and sorrow at
having thrown your own respect away.
(Written by rock_your_heart
I asked a radio presenter, Hrishi Kay to recommend me songs that reflect the spirit of people like Jayantilal;
Hrishi Kay recommended ‘Khoon Pasine Ki Jo Milegi Toh Khayenge’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tj-Erf3jtQ ;
and Sting’s ‘Work the black seam’, reflecting the travails of the working class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFjXKUmb8kU.
I must add, this was the first time Siddharth Vora (Kohinoor Cycles) witnessed a recipient doing full-fledged puja of his bicycle on receiving it. His wife and he lit a diya on the handle and said prayers before taking away their well-deserved vehicle.
Thank you Deb Mohan and Beni Kithan for purchasing this bicycle for Jayantilal Gada. He contributed half the cost of the same.
And Thank you 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