46th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘I am in this profession because it is only farming that I know best; it is only plants and trees that I know best; and I like to create and see greenery.’
Salikram. (45 years old)
Profession – Gardener. (Malee)
Salikram is from UP; he is a gardener since 8 to 10 years. Before this, he was a farmer and even a farm laborer.
He arrived in Mumbai around 8 to 10 years ago, when he could no longer sustain his livelihood of farming, and when his father died; the income being generated from farming was too little for him to meet his family’s needs, so he had to migrate to a city.
(He told me later, that if he can get a loan of Rs 25,000 he will be able to go to his village and buy seeds and necessary earth and manure etc and farm his land and thus earn a return income from it. He did not ask me for a loan, nor did he imply it. He simply stated a fact.)
As a gardener, he said he earns around Rs 8500 a month.
Salikram has five children, 2 girls and 3 boys, he is educating them all in schools. He has three brothers and is educated till the 10th Std. His family lives in the village, he lives alone at Juhu, in Mumbai.
This bicycle we donated to Malee Salikram, (thanks to Dr. Niraj Vora; btw, this bike is Dr Niraj's 4th bike donation), he said he needs it to ferry earth, manure, fertilizers, gardening tools, etc. and also to travel to the four places at different suburbs he works at.
I asked him what does he like about his gardening (Malee) profession; He replied, ‘I am in this profession because it is only farming I know best, it is only plants and trees that I know best, and I like to create and see greenery.’
I asked Salikram when was the most difficult period of his life?; he replied, ‘When my parents died, around 10 years ago, he faced a very difficult time. Both died of Asthama, and that is when he had to migrate to Mumbai to earn a livelihood better than the farming they were doing.
Even his elder brother died of Asthama, and that was also a very sad time; Salikram provides for his brother’s widow and family too, along with his own.
He said being the eldest child, he must take care of all his brothers and their families. ‘A man with a great sense of responsibility, and noble indeed…’, is what I thought of Salikram, as I was getting to know him better.
He told me he has never owned a bicycle before in Mumbai, and this is the first time in his life someone offered one to him for free!
He was immensely grateful to the donor, Dr Niraj Vora. ‘With the help of this cycle I will not have to walk the many Kms I do from one job to the other… so, what can I say but just Thank You to the donor of my bicycle for making my daily existence much easier.’
I asked him when has he been the happiest ever?; He replied, ‘I was the happiest ever while my parents were alive. Also when I got married.’ ;
This is when Salikram smiled, and a big one, finally.
Thank you to Kohinoor Cycles for the good service.