Sr 190; The trust factor.

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Sr No. 190
The trust factor.

 

I am away from social media for ten days. So, I decided to leave you lovely peeps with something to ponder on, if it inspires you in any way, for those who care to read my rants and thoughts sometimes 😉 , with a little story about a donation made by my 3 friends last month.

 

In the process of making an audio book (of my print book Directors’ Diaries) I came across an audio library in Mumbai for the visually impaired – Talking Books Center, Worli, run by the National Association for the Blind. I met some visually impaired teens at a school for the blind who suggested to me that I make my printed book into an audio book for them to hear.

 

(Because they too were interested in filmmakers and how films are made even though they only hear them. They had asked me ‘… why did you not think of making an audio book for us, or one in Braille, when your book was published in print? I had no answer for them, and immediately began to find out how I can make my book into an audio book for them.)

 

When I visited the recording studio of Talking Books Centre, to find out the process to convert my printed book into an audio book for them, I happened to randomly came across a lady, Shubhangi Ghag, a voice artist for their audio books since more than a decade. I found out that giving her voice for their audio books is just a fraction of what she does for the visually impaired.

 

When Shubhangi comes across worthy cases of the visually impaired needing financial assistance, (there are an estimated 1 crore visually impaired in India) she seeks her friends, acquaintances and relatives for monetary assistance to help them. And she is rarely denied assistance.

And unlike me, us, she does not blog about her persistent efforts. So I wanted to assist her in our own tiny way.

 

I told Shubhangi to call me if and when she comes across a worthy & potential beneficiary. I knew she would, because I found out many visually impaired people face many financial hardships because they have far less opportunities for high income employment.

 

Suhans was one such person.

 

Shubhangi introduced me to him. His wife works as a domestic help (I think) and ever since landline phones have become less popular, his income is suffering; because PCO booths have disappeared from our streets. But Suhas has two children who are studying in school, a boy and a girl, and he urgently needed some money to get his son admission in the 5th class.

 

The amount was not much for us, but a lot for him as he is finding it a challenge to educate both his children. He is very keen to educate them till college. He does not lack food, as his wife earns too, and he has some rental income from a small commercial outlet (earlier his PCO booth, I think) given to him (the visually impaired) by the government.

 

If you watch this video I have posted, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMak8mIUaTQ) you can gain some amount of insight to why we felt we should assist Suhas. However, what is missing in this video is his reaction to our tiny assistance; two things that made an impact on me were:

 

1) Suhas told me, he does not want our ‘help’, he wants our Assistance. Help made him, I think, feel loss of his dignity. We wanted to maintain his dignity, so I assured him we will assist him in sending his son to class 5.

 

2) After my three friends has remitted their monetary assistance to him (via bank transfer) Suhas sent me a message.

 

It read, “…. thank you is not enough to express my feelings/sentiments towards your donors, for the timely assistance they provided me, because of which I could admit my son Akshay in class 5. The really big thing for me is that they trusted me, that they had faith in me, because of which they assisted me monetarily.”

 

It is for the latter, the ‘trust’ factor, that Suhas feels indebted to our three donors.

His emotions and immense gratitude made me reflect.

 

I have often experienced this, again and again, thanks to always meeting our few beneficiaries myself, ki ek gareeb inssan ke liye, uss par vishwas karna hi uss ke liye bahot badi baat hoti hai! Bhale woh humare liye badi baat na ho.

A person who perceives himself as poor is always touched when he is trusted with money meant to help him lift himself above his circumstances.

 

To support my belief, I will quote Noble prize winner Muhammad Yunus (Gramin Bank, Bangladesh) “Even though our bank lends money (micro financing) to the poorest of the poor without asking them for collateral, we rarely have defaulters. Our bank’s loan default rate is far below that of government and private banks.

You know why they usually always pay us back and pay us in time? It’s also because they feel indebted to the bank. Indebted to someone who trusted them with money in a world where banks lend money only to the rich and or poor only against collateral. So our borrowers feel highly responsible to pay us back, and pay us in time.”

 

I think their gratitude and their dignity, which the bank helps keeps intact, ensures they don’t default on their micro loans. I hope Mr Mallya too reads this.

 

I have posted screenshots of Suhas’s text message to me below.

 

Thank you Deb and Beni, Archana Bhatnagar and Parag V Parek for volunteering to assist Suhas’s son Akshay. For trusting him with your assistance.

 

Bye bye ta-ta for ten days. Will miss you lovely peeps.

 

 

#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

Eveyone will have their own version of “what’s the purpose of my life?”

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Eveyone will have their own version of “what’s the purpose of my life?”
 
Two years ago, the Commissioning Editor of Harper Collins India visited my home and we made my dad bless my first book #DirectorsDiaries📘 That was my book’s birthday.
 
My dad had once told me, … “I worry if you will ever be able to support yourself financially, you are already 33 and not able to support yourself, but you are very sincere in what you take up, hard working and will earn respect and love, if not a lot of money. And I know you can write. (pondered) Whatever you do, when I am no more, look after your brother, sisters and your mother, as she is not ‘worldly’ in many ways.'”
 
I looked after my mother, and i try to think for my family and close friends wellbeing and dont succeed always, (have hurt them sometimes). That can be a purpose of life too.
 
For me life does not have to be about seeking God or solving any mystery within or outside of us, and it does not have to be only about ourselves; for many people the purpose of life is simply – “our life however humble or special must have a meaning a purpose for at least one other living being, human, animal, flora or fauna.” Even if it be your family member.
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi🎶
#ShantanuRayChaudhuri
#AnandBakshi🖌

Sr No. 189 “No real good friend will take away my right to protect my emotional privacy.”

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Sr No. 189

 

“No real good friend will take away my right to protect my emotional privacy.”

 

Ramesh Salunke (55 plus I think)
Cobbler (Mochi)

 

Ramesh is a second generation cobbler.

 

He lives at Khar Danda, Bandra, and works from a make-shift shelter on Perry Cross Road. He was recommended to me by a driver in my residential apartment. Of course I was aware he worked a few buildings from my apartment, and he had repaired many soles of my shoes. Yet I had never really gazed at his face long enough while speaking with him. I would explain what I need done, glance at him quickly and then walk away.

 

Later I would collect the repaired shoe, glance at him quickly, pay him and once again just walk away; without ever asking him, “Kaise ho bhai? How are you?” , considering he has been around for nearly two decades (15 years) three apartments away from my own.

 

So when Ramesh found out (from a retired fisherman we had helped long ago) that we give people bicycles for the purpose of them traveling for their livelihood, he approached a driver in my building to reach me. And after about six months I met him, as I had other people I had committed I would help.

 

Ramesh was willing to contribute half the cost of the bike if can donate one to him.

 

Ramesh’s wife works as a house-help in various places in Bandra. He is a second generation cobbler. His biggest worries are:

 

1) Like his father he too may become visually impaired, blind, looking at one spot for many hours while threading shoe laces. His father lost sight in one eye. Ramesh says, I know of some cobblers who turned blind partially or completely by working at show factories and on pavements. Because they stare at one spot for too many hours every day. Aisa karne se aankh chali jati hai.”

 

Eventually, his father passed away from Cancer, within 4 months of it being detected. That was the worst period of his life. He said, ‘The saddest was that we could eat, but my father could not. We had to feed him through drips.”

 

Ramesh broke down when he recollected this period of his life. I think he did not break down because of what he was made to remember because of my questing him, I think people break down when a stranger cares to ask them about their lives, about their joys and sorrows. Because rarely do well to do looking people talk to them at such length, I think. That itself makes them emotional

 

And I remembered the advice my eye doctor had given me long ago…. “If you don’t want your reading number to increase, try reading as much as you can without wearing your numbered glasses, and do not stare at the page or your screen for too long. Every few minutes look away at various objects near and far. And read in bright light.”

 

2) His sons are not really settled as yet, and he is worried if they will, soon, and he hopes they do not go wayward because of idle or bad companions.

 

I asked Ramesh about his customers; and he told me about some of his customers. There was one client he told me about, a very rich customer who I realised had hurt him.

 

Ramesh had said, “… one of my clients lives on Perry Cross Road, and he sent his shoe to me for repair. One pair only, because it was damaged. However, to do a good job on the damaged shoe I needed to see the other pair, the good pair that was not damaged. But he refused to hand it the left and right pairs. He told me, or he hinted I think, that because that pair of shoes was costing about Rs 40,000 he did not trust me with both left & right pairs. No one can misuse or sell off only one pair of shoe. You need two to make a sale.”

 

When Ramesh told me about this incident, I noticed his lips begin to quiver, his hand shake. I wondered if that was because of his anger, or the humiliation he must have felt back then when it had happened. Maybe the customer did not mean to hurt his feelings, yet the sensitive artist, the cobbler, felt or realised that his character was under suspicion for a pair of shoes. He added, “But I did a good job, gave it my best, even though I had just the damaged shoe to work on.”

 

It made me ponder on how many times I may have hurt some people, particularly the more sensitive kaarigars, artists, by saying things without realising their impact. Or to a service provider far below me in the world’s pre decided food chain hierarchy. I must have done something, said something that exposed my mistrust in someone.

 

After Ramesh left, I apologised to the universe if I had ever hurt any artist, or any other service provider by my language, words, tone or body language. I further thought, because of the bias I carry within because of my limited experiences, I have sometimes hurt people’s feelings by my some posts on social media.

 

I still make such mistakes, sorry. Lately, a dear friend (now an ex-dear-friend) termed me as a liar and hypocrite. I agree I lie sometimes to protect my vulnerable emotions. No one has a right to demand honesty from me if I need to protect my vulnerabilities with a white lie and or hypocrisy. No real good friend will take away my right to protect my emotional privacy.

 

On the sunny side, Ramesh mentioned very proudly, the best thing my father taught me was what he kept telling me when I was studying in school. He would say, “silaee seekh le. Ek din kaam ayegi. (Learn how to stitch shoes. It will come of use to you someday.)”

 

And it did. Because after Ramesh failed to find fruitful employment, right from his youth days to his middle age he could not find a suitable occupation or employment, it is silaee (stitching shoes) that has fed his family nearly two meals a day over the last 15 years. (Feed a man/woman a meal, you feed him/her once. Teach him/her a job, you feed him/her for a lifetime.) The balance meals his wife brings home. He hopes one day his two sons will/can chip in. We all do.

 

I was happy we were able to help Mochi Ramesh Salunke in our own tiny way.

 

Thank you to Kiran and Sheetal Shetty for buying this bicycle for Ramesh. Ramesh contributed half its cost.

 

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

 

#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

You love your brother, so you let him sleep. :)

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Daughter – Mummy, why this alarm clock on your phone?

Mummy – Its just like the alarm clock that wakes you up for school, we use it to wake up in time for very important tasks at a specific time. Like, Daddy uses it to wake you and me up so we can get you ready for school.

Daughter – Can we buy a big one, one that plays that song I like? The Bajrangi Bhaijan song.

Mummy – Hahaha No no! Your Bhaijan does not have to wake up as early as us. His school starts at 9. And you dont want to disturb his sleep na?

Daughter – Yes, I love Bhaiyya. Let him sleep longer.

Daughter thinks… fiddles with mummy’s phone…

Daughter – Mummy, what is this Reminder on your phone. It looks just like an alarm clock.

Mummy – Its to remind us about important tasks after we wake up. Like, to take medicine at the right time, or, to call Masi in New York before she goes to sleep.

Daughter – Mummy, how come you dont use it to give me dinner at the same time everyday, hmmmm or for saying your prayers so many times every day?

Mummy – My hunger tells me when to eat so I kind of know when I have to feed you too, and my faith is strong enough for me to remember when I have to pray. (Looks at her daughter lovingly) Its like Bhaiya’s birthday, you know the date na, we dont set reminders for Daddy’s mine or your birthdays. We love you all enough to remember the dates.

(Come to think of it, we don’t need to be reminded for somethings, for many things… like, even when to have sex 😜👻😇)

#RakeshAnandBakshi🎶

For some people trolling me:

Let’s ban HINDU HINDU HINDU Diwali Crackers through the DAY!!! & NIGHT!!! (And not just from 10 pm to 6 am! :p ) that are noisy beyond the allowed decibels.

And loudspeakers during all HINDU (I repeat, all HINDU HINDU HINDU) festivals between 10 pm and 6 am; and not just from ALL religious places between 10 pm and 6 am.

Phew!

188 – Where they reside, temporarily, is off the ‘land’ reserved for us privileged beings, but there the only thing between them and the sea is the breeze.

Sr no. 188

School bags & stationery for children of migrant workers from a village near Akola, Maharashtra.

They migrate every year before the onset pf rains to cities like Pune and Mumbai for road works, and when they return their children return to attend continue school. Their parents are building, extending, promenade at Carter road, Bandra.

Right now where they reside, temporarily, is off the ‘land’ reserved for us privileaged beings but there the only thing between them and the Arabian sea is the breeze. Some jobs however down the food chain can have an envious perk. Being positive.

Thank you Priyanka Chaturvedi & Advait Chaturvedi 🙏

A day will arrive when we will post a deed like this every day. 🙏

#BicycleAngels🚴😇
#RakeshAnandBakshi🎶

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Because one wheel at a time and one step at a time will help us journey more than a thousand miles,”

“There are many reasons why we do this. One of them being, I believe, is our ability to be able to move with ease from one spot to another, which makes us reach our desired and varied destinations in life, helps us achieve our dreams. That is why we (our donors) donate bicycles and wheelchairs and walkers. Because one wheel at a time and one step at a time will help us journey more than a thousand miles,”
 
/Rakesh Anand Bakshi believes that the bicycle has the ability to change a person’s life.

Santosh, a daily wage worker, resides in Umbraj, a small village in the Satara district of Maharashtra. He has three daughters, five, seven, and eight years old, all of whom study at Umbraj Zilla Parishad School.


Santosh’s father passed away when he was in class 8. With the financial burden falling upon him, he was unable to study further, taking up jobs at various construction sites instead.

A bicycle will help him travel to work sites without any dependence on public transport, which he finds both unreliable and expensive. By riding to work, he will save Rs 20 per day, he says.

Seven-year-old Meghraj has cerebral palsy. His speech and limbs are considerably impaired and weakened. It compels him to rest against a wall or chair, as his muscles cannot support his own weight. Since they do not have a wheelchair, they leave him in a corner against the wall, or lying flat on the floor, most of the time. However, it’s time they got a wheelchair.

These are just two of the many people who have benefited from Rakesh Anand Bakshi’s social initiative.

Bicycle Angels

In early 2012, during one of his bicycle trips in Mumbai’s Bandra locality, Rakesh, a scriptwriter, director, author, and son of the late Bollywood lyricist Anand Bakshi, had an experience that made him reflect on his way of life. Having stopped for some tea at a local stall, he offered the chaiwala some money to get his bicycle repaired.

 

For the chaiwala, a sum of Rs 800 was a huge deal, since his livelihood pretty much depended on his bicycle. “I then realised how much we as privileged people can do for these people, who work so hard to earn such meagre wages. Come to think of it, I would probably have spent that money on a movie ticket or something, but the same money had the power to change this man’s life,” says Rakesh.

Rakesh, who had heard about the Campus Bicycle Project by students of St Xavier’s, where cyclists collected and refurbished unused cycles for gifting to poor schoolchildren in villages, decided to sponsor one himself.

Rakesh started interacting with more people whose livelihoods depended on bicycles. He spoke to chaiwalas, milkmen, and vendors, with a desire to help people in need, and started Bicycle Angels later that year.

Rakesh feels that as somebody who comes from a place of privilege, one needs to do whatever one can to help out people in need. “You do not have to be a millionaire or travel far beyond your house to help someone. Step out, observe, and you will find someone worthy,” says Rakesh.

“We encountered some needy people at Shirwal, Umbraj, and Chincholi, and my friends Raman Macker, Parth Shah, Meghna Rodrigues, Kirraann Ramesh Nichani, Surabhi Shah, Shom, Satya, and Minnie Mehra donated bicycles to them,” says Rakesh.

Rakesh started off by collecting funds from his close friends, who were happy to donate money for a noble cause. Gradually, the cause started getting more attention and individuals were sponsoring bicycles for people in need. Rakesh used these funds to either buy people new bicycles or refurbish existing ones.

Bicycle Angels and Finolex Industries Ltd., in association with their CSR partner Mukul Madhav Foundation (MMF) organised a cyclothon from Pune to Ratnagiri from November 21–26, 2016.

The six-day event included conducting medical health check-up camps in six ZP schools en route, in the districts of Satara (Shirval, Umbraj, Kokrud, Pali) and Ratnagiri (Basni) and their own school, Mukul Madhav Vidyalaya, Golap, Ratnagiri. Rakesh and his donors donated cycles to individuals in these areas.

Spreading hope

In addition to donating bicycles to men whose livelihoods are dependent on them, Rakesh also helps donate crutches, wheelchairs, and bicycles to women in need.

At the ADAPT (Able Disabled All People Together) school in Bandra, kids who suffer from cerebral palsy are helped out by Rakesh with his donations of crutches and wheelchairs.  “Why is it important to help these special children? There are many reasons. One of them being, I believe,  our ability to be able to move with ease from one spot to another, which makes us reach our desired and varied destinations in life. That is why we donate bicycles and wheelchairs and walkers. Because one wheel at a time and one step at a time will help us journey more than a thousand miles,” says Rakesh.

While these wheels are offering a new lease of life to specially abled kids, somewhere across the country, they are also lending wings of freedom to women. Rakesh shares the story of a middle-aged woman in Gurgaon, whom he bought a new bicycle for.

A daily wage worker like many of the beneficiaries of Bicycle Angels, the woman had to travel a few kilometres to find work. The bicycle not only helped her reach her destination faster but also offered her protection. She shared with Rakesh that men were hesitant to approach women travelling by bicycle as it was difficult to drag somebody with a certain momentum into the bushes.

Rakesh and his generous donors have helped 188 recipients so far. As of now, Rakesh looks out for workers in need of bicycles and refurbishing on his daily cycling trips, and hopes to benefit many more people in the time to come.