110th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) :
“Where hope used to dwell, there is now a hole in the world and within him, I felt. In which he is walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. Waking up from the slumber only to continue walking in the hole. No ladder, no elevator, no rope in sight leading the way out.”
Kamlesh Kumar Gupta (25)
Fruit delivery and Vegetables seller.
Kamlesh is from UP. His father and sister have some ‘mental’ problems, because of which she is separated from her husband, and his father is not capable of earning a livelihood. His mother and he run the family. He could not study beyond the fourth standard because that is when his father developed ‘mental’ problems.
His mother works in the fields and earns daily wages to support them even today.
Kamlesh and his mother have tried all kinds of doctors to cure his sister and father of their ills, and spent a large part of their meager savings on them, yet, they continue to suffer. Kamlesh is convinced it is a ‘bhoot’ (bad spirits) that have invaded this family, and have been to all kinds of ‘babas’ (faith healers), on whom they have spent lots of money, but without success.
Kamlesh believes his father and sister, (and sadly, even his sister in law!) have lost their sanity, which is sad. He believes a ‘bhoot’ has invaded the homes within their bodies. That is sadder. But what was even sadder, for me, was that Kamlesh has lost hope. Hope that they can or will be cured someday, whether they get cured medically or ‘spiritually’
Where hope used to dwell, there is now a hole in the world and within Kamlesh, I felt. In which he is walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. Waking up from the slumber only to continue walking in the hole. No ladder, no elevator, no rope in sight leading the way out.
Such a fissure, such a chasm, such an abyss is one we need to avoid falling in, or get right out of, somehow. Somehow.
Kamlesh was a vegetables seller till six or seven months ago. He would transport them from building to building on his bicycle. His bicycle was stolen a few months ago. The theft, and thus the immense loss, compelled him to lose his independence and become a fruit-delivery-man for a hawker of fruits.
Without the aid of his beloved bicycle, Kamlesh could not sell vegetables anymore. So he took up the job of being a fruit delivery man since a few months, unable to save enough to buy a bicycle.
The reason he is so dependent on a bicycle to do his own ‘business’ of selling veggies, is, he fell two years ago and suffered an injury on his right hand. Since then he cannot lift heavy weights. So, he cannot lift the ‘tokri’ (cane basket) of vegetables above his head.
That is why his bicycle was his support system, his mate, as she gladly shared his burden on her formidable handle and back carrier. Truly being his means of livelihood.
This is one of the reasons I always think of their bicycles, these roadsters that our donors bestow on them, as nothing less than ‘Ferraris’ and ‘Lamborghinis’ for the recipients, and yet simply as ‘the humble giants on our roads…’.
Because, is it not on their formidable shoulders that so so so many people, many of them poor and hopeful immigrants to the city of gold, place their immense hope and persistent faith to earn their livelihoods!?
Therefore, I sometimes bow in solemn silence to these ‘most beautiful’ bikes when I zoom past them on my own fancy and far more expensive bicycles. :)
With the theft, and thus loss, of his bicycle, Kamlesh lost not just his independence but a good chunk of his daily wages income, because with a bicycle he was ‘self employed.’
That was a good reason, I thought to donate one to him. Especially since he was willing to contribute nearly half towards its cost.
A bicycle for a underprivileged man is such circumstances, I feel, will help him close the hole in his income and in his independence. Kind of empower him, ya.
And now, we only hope that Kamlesh even gets out of the ‘hole’ that he finds his father, his sister and even his sister in law in.
Thank you to Radhika and Ramit Mittal, and to Deepika Mirchandani, for contributing towards the purchase of this new bicycle donated to Kamlesh. (Kamlesh too contributed substantially towards its purchase.)
And thank you to Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) for the good discount and service. Thanks Gazi Ali for his photo.
(PS - Rs 3000 is what it takes to donate a new bicycle; yes, because the balance, 2000 to 2500, is contributed by the recipient. :) )