Re-cycling of a bicycle…

We are familiar with recycling of waste materials into new forms and shapes. It is deliberately promoted as a good environmental practice. Approaches to recycling of wastes are always encouraged and appreciated by one and all. My spouse, a homemaker, proved a classic way of re-cycling a bicycle without transforming the original material! That makes it an interesting story to share with you.

My wife gifted a new bicycle to her first nephew, eldest brother’s son, as a token of her love. This boy was three plus when the gift was given and he is now 25. He pedaled this tiny bicycle for a couple of years till he realized this bicycle was too small to his growing body. His family living in Hyderabad found a place in their balcony and left it to its fate. As we lived in Delhi, during my wife’s  travel to Hyderabad, she visited her brother’s residence. She discovered that her gifted-bicycle became redundant as the boy grew taller. Her younger brother and his two daughters instantly came to her mercurial mind. She immediately connected and ensured that this bicycle should be moved to her younger brother living in a small town in Medak district – 60 km from Hyderabad. Years passed and these two little girls, one after another, mastered cycling. Youngest daughter became taller and bicycle disappeared from the scene second time. It became redundant again and parents promptly shifted it to a corner of their house.

One day, maternal uncle of these two adolescent girls visited their home. He came to see his sister with his wife and two children – a son and a little daughter. Children were playing all over the duplex apartment. House lady was watching her brother’s children and offered the bicycle to them. They jumped at the offer. Quickly the bicycle moved to a small village with a new family. These two children played with cycle merrily and learnt the art of bicycling. After a few years, father brought back the bicycle to sister’s house as his dwelling unit was small and kept it in its earlier place of the house.

Years passed. I retired from my job in Delhi and moved to my hometown, Nirmal – 225 km from Hyderabad. We began our dream project of agriculture near our hometown and kept a full time young caretaker at the farm to help us. He had been to Dubai as an unskilled worker for five years and returned to his village with no intension of going back again. When we appointed him in 2019, he had one son. Now he is a father of two sons. Eldest son is nearing three. One day he brought his son to the farm.  When the boy was moving curiously and energetically all around, my wife instantly connected this boy with bicycle resting in her younger brother’s house.  She announced at once to caretaker that his son will have a bicycle soon. Our caretaker was confused and innocently looked at us. She narrated the story and reconfirmed him that bicycle will come soon.

We had to buy a few guava and other saplings for our orchard to plant them during the  monsoon. It was planned to visit a nursery near Hyderabad which is incidentally close to my brother-in-law’s place.  We loaded our car with guava saplings and reached brother-in-law’s residence. Those two young girls kept the bicycle ready and placed it carefully on the rear seat. After a quick meal, we drove back to our farm and kept the bicycle on the ground. It just needed oiling and a new pair of side wheels.

Our caretaker brought his son to farm. And lo.  Boy was told that bicycle is for him. His joy was boundless. Boy touched it fondly and held it affectionately.

Three pairs of eyes were watching boy’s little actions with twenty-five years old bicycle. He is the sixth child to use it. Needless to say his brother is in queue down the line…

Admiringly I hugged my wife for gifting a bicycle to her nephew a quarter century ago. It was a unique happening that needed no real recycling processes but only needed tender feet to pedal it. My spouse only found right-aged children and connected the dots to re-cycle it…

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Sampath Kumar Toopran

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