My Story: “Do I Seem Like A Beggar? Life Took Away My Family & Gave Me This Begging Bowl”

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“Maybe you will find me here every evening from now on, sitting with my begging bowl. I am an old woman; I lost everything in life except my younger son. But tell me one thing, do I seem like a beggar to you?

You say you stay in Bengaluru. Nice city. So neat and clean, and the weather is perfect. I remember visiting the city long back, in my good times. Those cherished memories now feel like another life.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

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Emergency funds sent to 250 families

My husband was an accountant at a business firm. Two cerebral strokes, one followed shortly by the other, claimed his life at the prime of age. Shocking as it was for me, little did I know how disastrous the rest of life was going to be.

I was once a proud mother of two amazing sons. Today, I am coming here straight from the hospital, where my sole surviving son is battling severe pneumonia.

Soon after my husband’s death, my brother-in-law duped me of my husband’s entire life savings. Since I did not understand the paperwork much, he promised to take care of everything My elder son passed away in an accident a few years ago. It is just my younger son and me after that. Even as a helpless mother, I tried to protect him with all my might. He grew up to be a wonderful young man, around 22 years old now. He got himself enrolled in skill development training and secured a decent job. Things were looking upward again in life for the two of us.

Last month, he asked my permission to visit Sikkim with his school friends. I was reluctant at first. I have never let him travel far alone. And for me, the snowy mountains of Sikkim were risk-prone areas. He insisted, and I finally gave in.

Much later, while he was coughing up blood in the hospital, I got to know that in the spirit of adventure, he never wore sweaters or jackets, even in that freezing cold. He had returned from his trip with a persistent cough, that worsened over time. He was diagnosed with severe pneumonia. Due to late intervention, the phlegm and pus had accumulated in his lungs, which might have led to his death soon. I got him admitted to the local government hospital. For two weeks, I would only see him with oxygen masks, high-dose medicines and needles pricked to his hands. My boy has become so thin and weak. All my savings ran out on his treatment. I cannot even afford some healthy food for him now.

So, I come to the metro station every day post the visiting hours at the hospital. I sit at the base of the stairs and wait for busy men and women to drop a coin or two into my bowl.

Many people have offered to help me. They took my photo and promised me help. But I heard back from none. I do not know what the future has in store for me. I have lost everything once. I do not want to lose it all again.”

Efforts For Good talked with Rupa Sinha, the old lady who sits every evening in front of the right exit gate at Kavi Nazrul metro station (Lokenath temple side) in Garia, Kolkata. We are urging local volunteers and NGOs to come forward and provide financial and social support to this amazing woman, who desperately needs our help now.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote Is Distributing 40,000+ Meals Per Day In Mumbai During Covid-19 Lockdown

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Every global crisis affects every country in a different way depending on their socio-economic background. The COVID 19 pandemic hit India straight in its gut. After the lockdown daily wage workers and people who are underprivileged have been rendered out of their jobs. This has ultimately pushed them to an acute financial crisis so much so that even being able to afford two meals a day has become impossible. While we all wait for normalcy to bring us back our sanity, the financially disadvantaged people on the streets are fighting both the pandemic and hunger.

In a scenario like so, a number of social groups have come forward to help in whatever way they can. One of the worst hit cities is Mumbai, where 5 lakh migrant workers, the homeless and underprivileged residents of slums and chawls, waiting endlessly for normalcy to return., an initiative by is cooking food and delivering them to those in dire need, every single day.

“” that was launched in the city of Mumbai on March 29th, is one of its kind people-driven movements that has been running hall and hearty by the people coming from all across. It is that classic example of solidarity where people from all backgrounds, cultural and social has come together to ensure that every mouth is fed.

Brains behind KhaanaChahiye
Top : Pathik Muni, Ruben Mascarenhas. Below: Munaf Kapadia, Shishir Joshi

How does work

What’s different you ask? has built a capacity of preparing over a whopping 50000+ meals on a daily basis by activating the closed kitchens on several Mumbai routes. Pathik Muni, who has been particularly invested in the mission says, “ We crowdsource demand on hunger pockets and then map it to supply-side by activating closed kitchens. Our partner NGO “Project Mumbai” with reach to the relevant stake holders in Government departments helps us facilitate permissions to activate these closed Kitchens with a turn around of 24 hours. Parallelly we raise funds to map the demand.”

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Emergency funds sent to 250 families

Areas of food distribution in Mumbai

The food that is prepared is not just hygienic but also fits the calorie count that is sufficient for a person to get him through the day. Every meal consists of daal-rice, aloo-sabzi, chole rotis, veg pulav etc. has a volunteer-driven collective drive in various areas of Mumbai where people in large numbers have come forward to contribute in the many ways possible. So far the initiative has covered the Bandra to Dahisar route on Western Express Highway, Sion to CST and underprivileged pockets between Mankurd to Kurla on Eastern Express Highway, Juhu to Dahisar on Linking road, a cluster of 1100 labor camps near Mumbai Central and a part of Dharavi Slums.

If you want to volunteer in Mumbai kindly reach out to [email protected]

Food distribution areas  in Mumbai by

  1. To beggars & homeless
    • below the flyovers between Bandra to Dahisar on Western Express Highway,
    • between Juhu to Dahisar on Link road
    • below the flyovers between Ghatkopar to CST
    • under privileged pockets between Mankurd to Kurla.on Eastern Express Highway,
  2. To labour camps
    • a cluster of 1100 labour camp near Mumbai Central
    • a cluster of 3000 labour camp near Govandi
    • a cluster of 2000 labour camp near Mahul
    • a cluster of 750 labour camp in Colaba
  3. Parts of Dharavi Slums towards Cotton Green.
  4. Over 5000 meals in labour camps at various location identified and provided by the Assistant Commissioner,
  5. Serving food to over 5000 meals in Worli and Bandra on request of the local MLA and Corporator.

Immense demand of food in next 10 days

The intent of the movement is to continue the drive of feeding the needy in these difficult times at least until the lockdown is lifted by the government. However, as the days are proceeding, initiative has identified more and more hunger pockets as a result of which the demand for food is just rising since the time it started. To give a perspective of the recently emerged roadblock, Pathik says, “Nine days back, we started with 1200 meals and we are already catering a demand of 40,000+ as of today. We have corporate donors for most of our requirement, but as the demand for food is rising, we are now looking to feed 5000 people in next 10 days, which turns out to be 1,00,000 meals. Therefore we need to now raise a sum of Rs 25,00,000/- which is huge and we really need the support of more people.”

To raise the funds, initiative has come together with Efforts For Good and The Logical Indian to share this concern with our community members because as a citizen-driven movement, the initiative needs more and more people to come forward and a set a sum aside to keep the initiative going in its full glory so that there are no impediments coming in the way of feeding every mouth in these difficult times. Additionally, one can also contribute by sharing the word with friends and families. COVID 19 is difficult for all, the least we can do is to contribute so that the struggle to cope up with the pandemic does not add up to the struggle to cope up with hunger as well.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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