Human interest
Nagaraj Basarakod, who made the FB post, got acquainted with the couple 2 years ago when they used to sell lemons on the footpath.

When Manjushree, Nagesh and Sudha’s 8-year-old daughter, asked them for a bicycle, the couple was in a fix. Visually impaired and hailing from a poor background, the thought of telling their daughter that they would not be able to fulfil her wish was painful.

However, thanks to some Bengalureans who swung into action, Manjushree’s parents were able to make her little dream come true. On Wednesday morning, much to the little girl’s delight, she was presented with a bicycle – which she is persistently learning to master, her parents say.

All this was possible with the help of Nagaraj Basarakod, a financial advisor with LIC, Sampath Ramanujam, the founder of Anvaya Foundation, and the Facebook group, Whitefield Rising.

42-year-old Nagaraj lives in Whitefield, about 500 metres from Nagesh and Sudha’s house. He got acquainted with them about two years ago when the duo used to sell lemons on the footpath. He helped them buy more vegetables and sell them, so that they could earn a sustainable living. Later, he learnt that they could sing too. So, he gave them the tabla set from his home.

Now, Nagesh and Sudha work with a group, an orchestra of sorts. “We play and perform wherever there is a crowd. Temple or footpath, it does not matter to us,” Nagesh tells TNM.

When Manjushree asked for a bicycle, her parents were in a fix. “We come from a poor background and we can’t think of affording cycles,” Nagesh says, adding, “We just happened to tell Nagaraj. I had no hope that we would end up receiving a cycle. I had no idea things like this can happen.”

However, Nagaraj decided to enlist the help of the internet. He posted a picture of the family on Whitefield Rising, asking if anyone could help. The group admins saw the post and while they did not publish it right away, they put Nagaraj in touch with Sampath.

Sampath founded the Anvaya Foundation three years ago. One of its initiatives, ‘Freedom Pedals’, sources new or gently used bicycles in Bengaluru, services them and gives them to needy children in village limits. “It helps them to commute to schools and college,” Sampath explains.

Once Sampath verified Nagaraj’s request, he posted about the requirement in several cycling groups he is part of on social media. One of them, ZestPedal, responded to Sampath and said that there was an imported cycle available.

“I got to know about this at 8.21 am on Tuesday. By evening we were able to source the cycle. We serviced it overnight and by the morning of Wednesday, around 8 am, we presented Manjushree with the bicycle within 24 hours,” Sampath shares.

Nagaraj, who was present at this emotional moment, finds it hard to describe Manjushree’s response when she saw the bicycle. “She was so happy that she just couldn’t say anything. But the happiness, surprise and elation were all visible in her eyes,” he says.

Meanwhile, Nagesh and Sudha are also overjoyed to see their daughter happy. “My daughter is very happy. Previously she rode a smaller cycle, so she is not used to this one yet. But every day she is learning, and she feels happy when uses the cycle,” Nagesh shares.

(With inputs from Prajwal Bhat)