Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thanking Lord Annapurna

"This food gives us a sense of equality. Everyone gets the same food. We get to eat vegetables that we dont usually get to eat at home. The food is delicious and we have been eating this since 1st std. Our parents are happy that we are getting education and they dont have to worry about our nutrition." - words of a 9th std. student from a government school in Bangalore. 

I was recently invited by an NGO to document the mid-day meal scheme run by Akshaya Patra foundation. I visited the centralized kitchen and also visited one of the 1,055 schools in Bangalore that is served by Akshaya Patra.

I was amazed to look at the magnificent facility where 184, 530 student's food is made daily in the most clean and hygienic way. The photographs tell the rest of the story.
The containers where tonnes of rice and dal are stored for the day's meal. 

The rice and pulses are cleaned minutely. 

Vegetables are cleaned and cut manually. The cleaning process is the only task which is done manually. 

Machines where rice and sambhar are made. This reduces the human handling of food and for any foreign elements to enter the food while it is being prepared.

The food is stored in steel containers and there is no human contact in the entire process. 
Sabji being made.

I met a few students from 'Government Model Primary school', Bangalore. Everyone seemed so happy with the meal, they were all praises for the food. I was overwhelmed to see their positive response and the fact that there were students who were allowed to come to school by their parents because they were getting good food. Its a pity that parents send them to school for this reason, however its also their circumstances that make them think this way.

I have been a teacher earlier for 3 years, teaching in schools where students were from well-to-do families. They paid the school for the year's mid-day meal. However, I always heard complaints and cribbing about the food and the menu, inspite of getting an entire buffet. They didnt realize how lucky they were to have such a lavish meal.

Also, when I studied in NID, the mess food was pretty good in standards. Even then, students complained about the food regularly.

But my visit to this school, I was humbled to hear all praises about the food they got. Its true, you never value things in your life that are easily available to you.

Students wash their own plates and form a queue to get their meal.

A girl sharing her meal with her friends. 

There was no one to tell them to sit in a line, they arranged themselves on their own. 

                                       पूजयेदशनं नित्यं अद्याच्चैनमकुत्सयन्  
                               दृष्ट्वा हृष्येत् प्रसीदेच्च प्रतिनन्देच्च सर्वश: 
Food should always be worshipped and taken with the utmost reverence. The sight of food should delight one’s heart and fill it with joy.  It should always be  cherished  whatever the situation. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thank u for coming into my life...

You mesmerized me with your words, now you live with my heart, and I do not complain;

You erased my memories, now I see new dreams everyday, and I do not complain; 

You reminded me that life was beautiful, now I smile all day, and I do not complain;

You taught me the new definition of love, now I follow your heart, and I do not complain;

You made me laugh by singing all day, now you keep me awake with your snoring all night, and I do not complain; 

Today we know each other since one year, and I think- "Why did you come so late?", and I do not complain.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dont worry!!! Be happy!!!

Different instances in our lives bring different feelings and reactions in us. Some make us happy and some make us sad. Usually when I get sad, I think of it like this - how would I look at this situation after a few days, will I still feel the same pain/ frustration/ anger? Or will it be just a phase to me then. 

Notice your moments in life from the past that have brought in you pain, anger, frustration, sadness and depression. Now when you think of those reactions, don't you feel stupid about your reaction? Don't you feel, it hardly made a big deal? Don't you think if you would have reacted in a more mature way, atleast others might not have formed an opinion of you? 

It is not easy to follow this, but I try to see every situation that comes along in my life, as an outsider. I know that this all would be just a phase which will go away. And then after few days, you will feel this small and after few years, you may not even remember it. 

My simple aim is to remain happy. Speaking Tree in TOI is usually an inspiration to keep reminded all the time 'How to live life'. Various gurus, philosophers, writers say only one thing - Be Happy!!!

Don't dwell in the past or worry about the future. Dont have expectations. Be happy as you are now and enjoy peace. Simply remain happy and in peace. 

People suffer on account of imagined calamities and forego a thousand moments of happiness. 

Cultivate patience. You earn a bad name for making issues of petty things because of lack of patience.