What a mobile phone can mean to the visually impaired. (Blind)

So today I met a few visually impaired people (‘blind’) and I learnt an astonishing fact about their use and semi-dependence on a mobile phone.
 
Amongst the many challenges they face, getting LOST is a huge one. Especially if they girls and returning home at dusk. They told me, “With a mobile phone in our hand we feel someone is still holding our hand even though we walk alone most of the time. We feel confident that if we get into the wrong train or bus, we can immediately alert a loved one waiting for us at home or at work. We can dare to travel more freely.”
 
I remember I once got lost as a kid at Bandra fair and I had PANICKED! And I was sighted.
 
What a great invention a mobile phone is even for millions of physically challenged people.
 
Thank you Priyanka for agreeing to buy one for a child.
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi
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I am no saint. Never was.

I’m no saint. Never was.
 
I’ve spoken without applying conscious thought sometimes in the past. Ive termed some people I perceived not good looking as ugly; some people with very dark skin as kalia; some fat people as motu or fatso; some very skinny people as sukdu or refugee; some people i did not agree with and or did not like as a##hole and or bi###; someone very old as buddha; i have laughed at the poor- humour made by others, like by stand up comedians and some friends) on unfortunate people who have mental retardation and even called people retards; termed a girl whose character i thought questionable a prostitute or w####; cracked rape jokes… i think the list is longer.
 
I did it as i was immature.
Perhaps because i forgot the values I had been brought up with, maybe under peer pressure trying to conform to the wrong people I had surrounded myself with. And maybe because I had never interacted closely with the blind, the autistic, cerebral palsy children, never known of the pressures and crimes some women could not survive and became prostitutes, had never known of how life can break people for some women and men to whore their dignity and themselves for whatever reasons, never read what rape survivors suffer, i had never met people who starve to death, I am growing older myself so im going to be a buddha too someday, in one second any accident can occur and i can become someone that someday else will term as ugly or lame. i realised i myself have behaved like an a##hole sometimes.
I have acted without consciousness. I hope never to repeat the mistakes Ive made, yet I still make mistakes.
 
I am expressing this because some people may like to know i have made the same mistakes i felt they may be making; and i am now conscious of not repeating them ever. Im learning kindness myself and its not hard.
 
I forgave myself long back. I expressed all this so that maybe someone else not be the kind of asshole I have sometimes been in the past and continue to be even now sometimes. 😦
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi🎶

186th beneficiary – God and or the universe sells us their gifts at the cost of labor.

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Sr No. 186
 
“God and or the universe sells us their gifts at the cost of labor.”
 
V. S. (newspaper vendor since class 7)
 
V. S. lives in Bandra west. His bicycle was stolen and he approached us for help to buy a new one. We agreed, provided he will contribute half its cost. He agreed.
 
Incidentally, V. S. was the newspaper vendor when I was a teen. He remembered me and named the building Honey Comb and floor we lived in near Almeida Park. I was happy he remembered me, but I felt sad that when I was living an amazing life as a privileged teen, another youth was delivering newspapers to earn a livelihood and give himself and his family a better life.
 
V. S. has not faced any major challenges and or difficulties in life as yet, he says. However, he foresees his family’s and his life is going to change drastically in a year or two.
His father passed away and his brothers and sister are going to rightfully claim their inheritance in the family house he currently resides in. V. S. will have to part with their share of their inheritance and he will have to shift from Bandra to Virar as buying a house in Virar smaller than the one he living in since childhood in Bandra is going to be quite beyond his reach really.
 
However, V. S. is not too worried about that, his real concern is his daughter’s education. When his family will have to shift to Virir or beyond to be able to buy a house of their own, his wife and his daughter will have to commute a great distance for college and work. His wife work as a domestic help to supplement his income.
 
We chatted about a lot of stuff. And while speaking randomly about ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in our mega city, (reference the muck some radical politicians and others throw at each other and at their voter base….) he mentioned that some people from outside do very well here, and a big reason for that is because they do not feel doing any respectable work (like even making a snack or delivering bread or newspapers…) is below their dignity.
 
V. S. feels the biggest drawback some people from his community suffer from is they feel doing what he does (delivering newspapers and or working at an office as a peon etc) is undignified work. But strangely, some people do not mind their wives going out and earning a living doing what they feel is below their dignity while they sit at home and waste their lives. He thinks maybe they are to blame for their stagnation and the accused ‘outsiders’ are not to be blamed for them not ‘finding’ any ‘suitable’ work/livelihood.
 
Maybe we do not realise, that God and or the universe sells us their gifts at the cost of our labor.
 
Thank you Surabhi Shah and Surily Goel for contributing half the cost of V’. S. ‘s bicycle. I did not have a photograph of V. S. with the bicycle they helped him buy, so I have posted a photo of my own Hercules that I ride on weekends sometimes. 🙂
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶 https://twitter.com/RakBak16
 
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Sr No. 185 “… then she held his hand all the way. Because now it was she who was proud of him.”

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Sr No. 185

“… then she held his hand all the way.

Because now it was she who was proud of him.”

Bhaskar Balkrishna Nachekn (62)

Ratnagiri.

Bhaskar has been delivering newspaper since the fourth class. He had three daughters, one suffered an illness some years ago after her marriage and he spent a lot of his savings on her cure but she did not survive. Both his surviving daughters are married.

Bhaskar’s wife has been helping him in delivering newspapers door to door ever since their wedding. But she has fallen ill since a year and is recuperating at a hospital in Kolhapur. He goes to visit her every now and then.

After his wife fell ill, Bhaskar’s two nephews board with him at Ratnagiri and help him in the newspaper vending profession since his wife is unable to. Having another bicycle between the three of them will help Bhaskar and his two nephews increase their income a bit with more routes and customers to cover.

Bhaskar has a makeshift newspaper stall by the roadside and their day begins at 3 am. Bhaskar rides at least 40 Kms daily. No holidays. But now because of a knee issue he can no longer climb the many hilly roads in Ratnagiri.

Bhaskar has been able to get both his daughters married and settled from the newspaper vendor profession. I asked him how is the profession of delivering newspapers? What kind of livelihood does one earn delivering newspapers from 4 am to 9 am all days of the week?

Bhaskar said, “It’s a good profession, even though I am unable to save much. It’s a good profession, because I am able to feed my family and have been able to provide both my daughters education and a roof over our head; even though we live in a chawl it’s our own house. We earn fifty paise per newspaper we sell.”

I asked him about his daughters. What was it like bring up two on his limited resources?

He said, “On the way to college my daughter would visit our stall and collect papers at 6 am, to deliver them to my customers en route her college. So that I have to work less.”

I am reminded of a verse:

“He was so proud of his little girl. It was her very first day.

Proudly he walked her to school.

Then holding her hand he walked her to school every day.

The years went by.

Then she held his hand all the way.

Because now it was she who was proud of him.”

Daughters & Fathers.

When his daughter was helping him deliver newspapers, Bhaskar brought a bicycle for her so it will be easier for her to help him. And then she can also ride to college.

When I met him, he was using his daughter’s bicycle to deliver newspapers because she is married and now no longer rides one. He had to discard his own as it got too old and rusty to use.

On hearing him I thought, ‘Perhaps the universe has sent us here, to gift this deserving fellow a new bicycle.’ We believed he deserves a brand new bicycle. And Parth Shah and Meghna Rodrigues (& her son contributed from his little ‘monthly donation box’) donated one to him. Thank you.

(I met Bhaskar at Ratnagiri 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 so far from my home.

#MukulMadhavFoundation #FinolexPipes Pune to Ratnagiri Medical camp and cyclothon 2016.)

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#RakeshAnandBakshi.

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