Kathakali Dutta is a second semester student of the Master of Communication and Journalism (Integrated) programme at the School of Mass Communication, KIIT Deemed University, Bhubaneswar.
A couple in Tamil Nadu's Chennai, who had been earning their livelihood by selling snacks like bonda and bhajji on their cart, started an initiative to provide food to the underprivileged hit by the second wave of the pandemic.
56-year-old N Kalyanasundaram and his wife Padmavathy have been distributing at least 200 food packets to the poor in Bakthavatsalam Street, West Mambalam. They have been serving homemade food for the past 10 days from their pushcart named Shri Sabari Bajji Stall and Catering Services.
During the first wave of the virus, the couple had to shut down their business for about six months but as Kalyanasundaram read more and more news, he could easily predict that country might be hit with a second wave. Therefore, during September 2020, he started to save a section of his earnings for future use. Soon in May, this year, lockdown had been announced and he decided to use his savings to feed the hungry and the poor.
The couple provides two meals a day which include sambar rice, puliyotharai, and other rice varieties for lunch. Meanwhile, food items like upma and pongal are prepared for dinner.
"We also provide water bottles along with the packets. The feeling of knowing that people won't be going to bed hungry cannot be described," Kalyanasundaram told The New Indian Express.
Earlier this week, a picture of the noble deeds of the couple was shared on Twitter and they received much appreciation and offers for donation. "Many people called me to wish me and even offered monetary help to keep the initiative running. Now, it's become a community initiative," he said.
Kalyanasundaram had moved to Chennai in 1980 when he was 14-year-old and that is when he stepped into the business of selling snacks. Since then, he has been in the business of catering snacks and his pushcart food has been very popular amongst the locals.
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