My grandmother has this line that she always says “ki meri rasoi se koi bhuka nahi jaa skta” ( nobody will go away hungry from my kitchen). Well, this isn’t about my grandmother or her kitchen but something much more bigger and better.
Dadi ki rasoi is an initiative started by Mr Anoop Khanna a social activist in sector 29 Noida and that too at rs. 5 per day. Yes! You read that right. Ghar ka khana that too made in desi ghee in just 5 rs. Be it a rickshaw wala, shopkeeper or even a passerby, Dadi ki rasoi serves lunch to almost 500 people from 12pm-2pm.
Anoop Khanna started this initiative about 2 years ago along with some like-minded people there basic aim being providing home cooked food at an economical rate.
“The idea regarding providing food to poor people germinated in Anoop Khanna’s mother’s mind. She was sitting at home with her family and was eating food when suddenly a thought swirled in her mind that why not serve food to poor people. It all started from there two and a half years ago. At first, food was prepared for 15-20 poor people at home and served from their only. Once people started joining in, some nearby shopkeepers supported Khanna ji and encouraged him to continue it. Then we bought big utensils, commercial gas and stoves.” he said in an interview.
“We wanted to provide quality food, which gives you a homely feel. We could have attempted to provide the food for free as well but the reason for the price is that it gives dignity to a person who is buying the lunch. As far as the quality of food is concerned, I personally supervise over the preparation. Moreover, since the cost is minimal, anyone can enjoy a meal without worrying about the cost.”
The credit for the name goes to Anoop’s daughter Swati, and he credits the rest of his family for being a pillar of support and helping him to turn his vision into reality. Khanna had reportedly invested a little more than Rs 30, 000 in setting up the kitchen and now the raw material for the lunch costs him around Rs 2500 a day. He even encourages residents of other sectors to set up a similar stall in their area.
“It is not so difficult. It only takes a will of a person to start something like this. I have started getting requests from the residents to help them start something like this in their locality as well, so I have asked them to spend some time at my outlet just to have an idea about the functioning and challenges we face.”
They have a different menu for different days. “Each day menu is different. The variety includes dal, black chickpeas, white pea, rice, sabzi and pickle. On Sundays, we serve khichdi,”
Asking about why they don’t provide food free of cost to people, he said, “We do not provide food for free as we do not want poor people to lose their self-respect. Also, if one has paid a price for the food which he/she is having then they can ask for more. Moreover, we do not want to treat poor people like beggars and don’t want them to feel like they are begging. Rs 5 is not a big amount and anyone can afford it.”
Apart from the food they also provide clothes to poor people and that too at just rupees 10. Upon asking from where they get clothes from and how they ensure that they give clothes to needy ones only, he explains, “People who live here in bungalows, come and donate the clothes here which are no longer in use for them. After ironing and repacking them, we give them to poor and needy people at just Rs 10. We give clothes to people once in 15 days only and we click photographers of people before giving them the clothes. We do not provide clothes regularly because then people tend to misuse them.”
Anoop runs two pharmaceutical shops in the city. He is only a call away and is seen rushing to the site with relief materials during any tragedy.
The deep love for social service which burgeoned in a young Anoop as a child, when his father participated in the freedom struggle, continues to date.
We salute the spirit of individuals like Anoop, who are paving the way for more Indians and inspiring them to tackle the grave hunger problem in every way they can!