Drenched in rainwater from head to toe with soaked shoes in hand, Ashok Singh, a vegetable vendor, sobbed inconsolably as he felt defeated by the Mumbai rains. The 45-year-old, who sells produce at Bhendi Bazaar, was initially exuberant to get back to business after laying low for almost 4 months due to COVID-19.
#MumbainRains | Ashok Singh, 45, a Bhendi Bazaar vegetable vendor, who opened his shop for the first time in four months on Wednesday but was forced to shut it because of flooding, burst into tears at King Circle as he walked back to his house in Kurla. pic.twitter.com/71C7I3kbj9
— Mumbai Mirror (@MumbaiMirror) August 6, 2020
However, within hours of opening his shop, he was forced to pull down the shutter and discard the unsold veggies as the city started flooding. With his only hope of livelihood lost, Ashok started a long and lonely trek back home. But even as the season’s heaviest rain had shaken his spirits, the people of the city didn’t let him down. Mumbai opened its heart and donated generously to help Ashok after his picture went viral on social media, reports Mumbai Mirror.
With individual contributions ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000, Ashok now has close to Rs 2 lakh in his account. The vendor, who resides in Kurla, knows exactly what he will do with the money. For him, his first priority is to get his wife Sangita’s mangalsutra back. It was pawned for Rs 30,000. Then he plans to repay the Rs 10,000 he borrowed from his brother.
#Mumbai opened its heart for the Bhendi Bazaar vegetable vendor, who was captured by a Mirror photographer, slumped on a road divider with tears in his eyes and swirling flood waters all around him.https://t.co/wVCgVdWL9V
— Mumbai Mirror (@MumbaiMirror) August 7, 2020
He will also pay the Rs 5,500 household electricity bills and buy his wife’s blood pressure medicines with the money. And most importantly, he adds, “The rest of the money will go into a savings account to pay for my daughter Pooja’s marriage. She is 25 and her marriage is our top priority.”
Ashok felt grateful for all the money he received and said,
“I am lucky to have benefited from Mumbai’s generosity. But I am sure there are thousands of others in the city like me who are equally desperate. I hope they too can get out and start earning their living.”
The city still has some spirit left! https://t.co/hwCWFCzrOj
— Femina (@FeminaIndia) August 7, 2020
Hats off to everyone who stepped up to help him. It’s truly a privilege to have such kind-hearted people in our society.