Sr. No. 184
“… may God plant a kiss on their foreheads every time anyone anywhere in this world reads this.”
Ashok Shankar Nitore (55)
Ashok rides a bicycle that is 22 years old. He has never desired to buy a new one, because he has had other priorities.
Ashok lives in Ratnagiri. His father passed away when he was in the 8th standard. To support himself, and his younger brother & widowed mother, he began to deliver newspapers and educate himself and his brother from his teen years. His teen years!
Ashok did not study beyond the 10th class because of financial constraints. Education became more expensive after the tenth.
When Ashok was in his prime youth his married & younger brother passed away; leaving behind a dependant widow, son & daughter and his dependent mother. The responsibility of his extended family came on his shoulders alone.
On his newspaper vendor’s job Ashok began to now support four souls.
I asked Ashok if he is married, he replied, “…. so, when my younger brother passed away leaving two minors and a dependent widow, that day I decided to dedicate my life to them. I felt that only by remaining single I will be able to do justice in looking after them in the best possible way.
So I have never desired to get married after that. I am okay being single, they look after me just like my own children would have I think. All of them love and respect me immensely. I am a happy man I have them as my family.”
I think Ashok’s massive accomplishment in life is – His niece is studying law and his nephew is employed in a private company!
And looking at this noble man seated next to me I felt, ‘…. this soul has achieved much more than I have in my life so far, even though I am an established author and get written about sometimes by film news media and book lovers’ blogs.
I am blessed I get written about, so I must continue on this path I am on and whenever I can I should write even about the thousands of ‘Ashoks’ who many of us have yet to discover and may not know about in spite of the explosion of media and blogs.’
Long after he rode away on a most deserving brand new bicycle for the first time in 22 years, I paid a silent homage to some people I know, and some people I know of, who remained single because they had, or still have, a dependent parent/s or sibling to care for. And they feel they can give them their very best only by remaining single. I bow to them as I write this post, and may God plant a kiss on their foreheads every time anyone anywhere in this world reads this.
Souls like these shine like the gorgeous silver midnight full moon.
This bicycle was donated to Ashok by Minnie Mehra in the memory of her father. A woman who runs a playschool with as much dedication. Thank you Minnie.
(I met Ashok during a free medical camp for under privileged rural school children in November 2016, organised by a NGO in Pune, Mukul Madhav Foundation. (MMF) Dr Prof. Ram Dhillon (UK) and I rode our bicycles, on & off over five days, from Shirwal to Ratnagiri, stopping daily at Zilla Parishad schools en route at Shirwal, Umbraj, Chincholi, and Pali for the free medical camps the NGO had organised for nearly 3500-4000 rural children.
Thank you Mukul Madhav Foundation’s http://www.mmpc.in/ medical camp, for carrying me like a favourable wind to this village so far from my home. #MukulMadhavFoundation #FinolexPipes Pune to Ratnagiri Medical camp and cyclothon 2016.)
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