It is very rare that I listen to BIG FM 92.7 on a Saturday, and it is equally rare that I don’t listen to BIG FM 92.7 on a Sunday. This Saturday turned out to be truly special in more ways than one, but about rest of the things later…
I heard RJ Richa Anirudh talking about “Dadi-Ki-Rasoi” from Noida in her program Zindagi with Richa. She mentioned that she travelled to NOIDA to bring in a first-hand account of this unique initiative by social activist Mr Anoop Khanna. Her inimitable style of reporting and interaction with Mr Khanna generated my interest in the program, and in a rare move, I left all work and sat near the radio for the program.
Noida based social activist, Anoop Khanna along with a group of like-minded people have started ‘Dadi ki Rasoi’ with an aim to provide a meal at the lowest possible amount, which is priced at Rs. 5 only. He is feeding nearly 400-500 persons from his stall located in Ganga Shopping Complex, Sector – 17, Noida. Getting quality meal cooked with Desi Ghee comprising of Dal cooked with all vegetables and Basmati rice, is really a delicious fare. His aim is to provide home – cooked quality meal. “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,” Khanna says.
He gives full credit to his team of volunteers and philanthropes who provide him dal, rice, ghee and vegetables on highly subsidised rates willingly and regularly and make a contribution to this unique initiative. People of the area have taken this initiative sportingly and celebrate their special occasions like birthdays and marriage anniversaries and joyfully add to the menu like Paneer – Rice/ Rajma Chawal/ fruits/ cakes/ sweets etc. This way people are very happy eating at Dadi – Ki-Rasoi. This gives him immense satisfaction when he sees happy faces of his visitors. His mother encourages him for this initiative and his children advised him to name it “Dadi-Ki-Rasoi” as proposal came from her.
Not only this, he gives a choice of second-hand clothes for a price of Rs. 10/- to whosoever wants it. People from all over bring dry cleaned and neatly packed clothes to his store from where he dispenses subsidised medicines for needy.
Son of a freedom fighter, 57-year-old Khanna has spent more than Rs 30,000 in setting up the kitchen, which is a one-time investment and the raw material for the lunch costs him around Rs. 2500 a day.
Khanna shares that residents’ support has been encouraging as many have come forward to donate for the initiative. On a regular basis, many residents even sponsor a special meal in case there is a celebration in their house.
“One thing I have realised is that there are people who want to support a cause, given if it actually serves a purpose. So whenever there is a birthday celebration or marriage anniversary, residents come and sponsor a special meal that day.” Khanna says.
Khanna now pledges to continue with the initiative for the rest of his life and is now even encouraging more and more residents in various sectors to set up such stalls 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,” he adds.
Truly a real-life hero! Don’t miss when you are in the area.
watch Richa Anirudh with Mr Khanna at Dadi-ki-Rasoi.