75th recipient of help (livelihood bicycle) : “I want to give my old bike to this fellow I know, he is a driver and his wife is always ill, they have lot of problems..”
Vikas Nirmal (34)
Dhobi (Laundry services, Ironing)
Vikas is the first recipient who told me, (in response to my question, ‘what will you do with your old bicycle if we give you a new one?’);
He replied – I want to give my old bike to this fellow I know, he is a driver and his wife is always ill, they have lot of problems, and he has to fetch portable water for his daily consumption every morning from very far, he stays at Nalasopara. I want to help him by giving him my bicycle.’
The meaning of Vikas is ‘progress; a progressive and generous fellow indeed, is what I thought of him.
Vikas’s father was a dhobi too and is now retired due to an illness since more than 6 months. One of their kind customers, Bishambar Khatri, has borne the medical expenses of his father’s surgery and medical care. Moreover, some other customers of his from Bandra contributed to the wedding of his youngest sister this year in May.
I have always believed, there are so so so many good Samaritans around, and most do not blog about the help they provide randomly to people know and unknown to them
That is one reason why I feel quite unsettled, though I often accept compliments with grace, when some people tell me that Bicycle Angels are doing a great job; because I know there are millions of others who doing far more than us, and they do not blog or express it like we do. We blog about what we do, so our pond seems like an ocean to some! :p ;)
Vikas got into this profession because being the only son he had to assist his father, and gradually picked up the necessary skills and techniques of the trade, even though he wishes he could have done something else, become someone else.
I thought to myself, - There are millions like him, who wish they could be someone else, do something else. Some, are able to reach that destination which they always saw in the unfathomable distance; whereas for many others it remains that elusive mystical pot of gold, which even my drawing teacher promised me is present at the end of the beautiful rainbow which she helped me see in my heart and mind’s eye, but it was one I drew
Vikas is from UP, but he is born and brought up in Mumbai. He is educated till the 11th Standard, and had to drop out of school as he had to join his father in earning a livelihood for their family. His sister’s wedding was approaching and they had to work harder to earn and save for her wedding. He has four sisters, and all his sisters are married. His last sister was married this year in May, and once again some of his customers helped him with the expenses.
I must mention here, after I told Vikas we can help him get a new bicycle provided he too was willing to contribute to it’s cost substantially, later that same morning one of his customer’s called me. Her name was, Del Desouza (63);
Del told me, ‘….. I found out from my dhobi Vikas that you are helping him get a new bicycle, I too would love to be a part of this, can I too contribute to the cost of his new bike..?’ I happily agreed, even though Deb Mohan had wanted to buy it entirely for Vikas, I just could not refuse this lovely woman.
Later, Vikas informed me that Mrs Del is often volunteering help to all kinds of needy people, and she volunteered to contribute for his bike when he had informed her about having met me randomly on the street and I had made him an offer he could not believe!
God Bless Del; May her kindred spirit always remain as cheery as a melodic Church bell. That reminds me, I studied at St. Theresa’s High School, Bandra west, and the melody of the church bell, our school had it’s own church, that sounded thrice a day remains imprinted deep in my sound-memories fondly.
However, even if you do not have any such charming church bells memory, I am certain a bell does ring within each of us when we reach out to anyone. And even when we reach out to ourselves.
I asked Vikas, - Which has been your happiest moment in life so far…? What even has made you the happiest?
He replied, ‘I am the happiest when I think that I was able to help all my sisters get married. It’s the happiest time of my life.’
Long after he had left, I thought - Unfortunate are those who even after they spend millions cannot experience happiness. Here is one who found it within his home simply because he fulfilled what he must have thought is simply his duty towards his siblings.
Thank you to Deb Mohan and Beni Kithan, Surabhi Shah, and Del Desouza, for donating this bicycle to Vikas. (Vikas contributed substantially towards it’s 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.