Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.
The nationwide lockdown, imposed in the month of March last year, to contain the spread of COVID-19 halted lives of many. A few days before the lockdown, a young man from Madhya Pradesh's Sagar, Shivam Soni, decided to move to Indore after suffering a massive loss in his food business to restart his life.
But the untimely Bharat Bandh rendered him helpless and all his money dried up within a few days. Forced to sleep on the streets and to fill his stomach on the food packets handed over by the residents, he, however, did not give up in the face of adversities.
One day, he had a free-of-cost meal at a Gurudwara langar and he noticed the selfless act of feeding several people like him who were in dire need of support from the community. This moved Soni and he decided to do something about it with the resources he had at his disposal.
"I knew that I had to give back to society and I wanted to run langar service. I worked as a security guard with a private firm for over five months to save money to start and invest in another food venture. My father passed away five years ago but he always taught me the importance of hard work," Soni said in a video interview with Aamchi Indore.
Soni was a BTech drop-out but he was interested in chasing the career he was interested in — food entrepreneurship and hotel management. With the saved money, he started a food stall called 'Hunger Langar' where he started offering quality food at just ₹10. The stall can be spotted near Matagujri College, near Meera Garden in Indore.
"I know the pain of going through sleepless nights when one is not able to afford food. I wanted to make the food absolutely free-of-cost at my stall but I had to think about survival and being able to continue the service for people. So, I decided to charge a nominal amount of ₹10 which anyone and everyone could pay. Bas Waheguru ka hai jo bhi hai. Hume upar le ke nahi jana kuch bhi," Soni said.
Soni further said that his family and friends have been the strongest pillars in his life and he believes in the mantra of 'not bowing down' to difficult times.
Soni's Hunger Langar offers masala dosa, upma, idli-sambhar at ₹10. An Indian thali comprising of rice, dal, two sabzis, poori costs just ₹30.
What's more touching is that Soni takes it upon himself to make sure no one goes from his stall hungry and thus provides free-of-cost meals to those who can not even afford ₹30 or ₹10.
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