Indian Cyclists Network

48th recipient of livelihood bicycle: ‘….As an employee my salary would have had a limit; however, as an independent professional sky is the limit! So I decided to switch…. ’

Name: Surendra Varma (25)

Profession: Electrician.

Surendra is from Kanpur, and migrated to Mumbai nearly two years ago. He even needed money to get his sister married, so he came here to earn a livelihood as an electrician. He has 3 brothers and 3 sisters. His father is a farmer. He left his home and village so that he can help support his entire family, as his father alone is unable to provide for such a large family of seven children!

Even now Surendra sends money home every month to support his brothers and sisters. He sends nearly Rs 3000 to 4000 to his family every month. All his sisters are educated! Far from them, he misses his family even today and calls them often to speak with them. 

He is married, and his wife studies at Rizvi college, completing her 12th Std, and he hopes she can become a tailor someday and be independent too, he is paying for her education.

(‘Commendable young fellow, and progressive, and selfless!’ is what I thought of his sense of responsibility and duty towards his family!) 

When he arrived in Mumbai, he first worked at a Grocer’s shop delivering goods before he decided to become an electrician, because, back in Kanpur, whenever he had an opportunity to do any kind of electrical job in the neighborhood, he realized he had a knack for it and everyone would call upon him for fixing stuff. He would also be called to light up wedding functions. He realized he understands the electrician’s field very well even though he did not study it formally. It’s only after he dumped the job at the grocer that he took up a job as an assistant with an established electrician to learn the field professionally. He loves his job, as he is comfortable working with live wires and circuits. 

He does not have a cycle, so he says when he has to travel to different locations for his job, or carry his tool box and kit it takes more time and expense using rickshaws. With a cycle he can reach more places faster and at far less cost too. No one before ever gave him such a deal, a cycle for free for his livelihood needs, he mentioned.

I asked him who is his best customer, he said it’s a woman in Sherley Rajan, Bandra, Anita (Madam), she treats him with respect and talks to him with kindness and enquires how he is when he visits her on jobs. 

I asked him when was the most challenging period of his life?; he replied, ‘It was when I could not attend college, even though I had got admission. (His eyes became moist when he said this to be.) We could not afford the college fees. And that is when and why I decided to migrate and earn a livelihood for myself and my family. If I cannot study, then I will work, I decided. Even when I worked with the Grocer, I would sometimes not get paid. I realized if I become an independent electrician, I will be working for myself and thus be paid fairly for the amount of work I do. Further, as an employee my salary would have had a limit; however, as an independent professional sky is the limit! So I decided to switch from being a grocer’s errand boy to being an assistant to an established electrician and learn the trade professionally!’

(“Wow! This young fellow has got his fundamentals absolutely correct!’ I was really impressed by his clarity of thoughts and his consequent actions. )

After a few days of giving him the bicycle, I asked him which was his happiest moment in life so far?; he replied, “When I got married, and when your friends gave me the bicycle to help me. Both these made me the happiest so far!’

Thank you to the donors of Surendra’s bicycle (which we got in exchange of the new bicycle they donated to milk man Murugan) – surabhi shah, murali krishnan, dr. niraj vora, javed mahadik, and farzana suri; Thank you dear all. 

And thank you to Kohinoor Cycles for the good service.

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