Food For Thought!

I had read about BlogAdda’s wonderful initiative Blog To Feed A Child in association with Akshaya Patra probably on the very day it was launched. Honestly speaking, I didn’t bother to get into the details of it because I thought that not only would I be too pre-occupied with my personal stuff to contribute a blog post this month but also because of my ignorance (no harm admitting the truth). It was only when Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan tagged me in his post on his blog – GODYEARS & educated me about the whole issue and also showed me how much a single post of mine would contribute did I realise my mistake & decided to contribute. He told me that for every post that I contributed on the issue, BlogAdda would make a donation to the Mid Day Meals scheme which is absolutely fantastic. I also get to choose a few of my blogging friends to do the same whose names Ill reveal at the end of this post . So this post is entirely due to Dr Roshan. I suggest you read his post on the issue to get a better understanding of the entire issue (Click here)

It’s a sort of co-incidence that on the very day that I planned to start writing this post, we got a male patient in the ward. His wife came up to me and asked me “When can you discharge him?” I said “What is the hurry, he still has a long way to go to fully recover. That’s when she told me “No sir, the problem is that I am a cook at a school for the mid day meals. I have been given leave for just 15 days. Other than me there’s just another cook & a total 233 children to feed and hence I can’t stay for long in the hospital with him.”

When we talk of education in our country, we can always think of so many hurdles. Poor infrastructure, distant schools with no transport facilities, belief that the girl child has no right to education, non availability of teachers in rural schools. Even Chetan Bhagat in his latest book ‘Half Girlfriend’ highlighted a major issue of lack of toilets in schools. What if all these were miraculously provided. Would there be 100% attendance in the classrooms? Yes there would be in most schools in our cities. But there is a major issue called “Classroom Hunger” which many of us aren’t aware of or don’t seem to take too seriously. No, this is not the hunger for knowledge in schools. Its far from it!

Back when I was in school (especially upto class 7) I remember that the first thing I did after getting into my school uniform of khaki shorts & white shirt in the morning, was to ask mom for my tiffin box. Then with my school bag(which was extremely heavy) round both shoulders, water bottle around my neck & tiffin carrier around my right shoulder I would head to school all so excited(sometimes dreading the day’s kannada class). At around 12:30 PM every afternoon we would all be waiting in class for the “Lunch bell” which went ‘ting ting, ting ting, ting ting’ which was different from the rest of the ‘tings’ throughout the day. Even before the teacher got out of class we would open our tiffin boxes & look excitedly as to what was packed for the day! Ofcourse I would be sitting with my best friend so like everyone else I too would make it a point to check what he(mine was an all boys school & hence only the HE) was carrying for lunch as well. And in case we liked each others lunch better, we would readily share and sometimes even exchange!

Now after all those years at work, during lunch time when the stomach starts growling, I search for my colleagues to head out for a hearty meal. And there we take great pains to decide what we want to order for the day. Most of the time we make it a point not to order the same dish that we had the previous day. The day without lunch(which tends to happen a lot in our profession) turns your world upside down. Imagine that happening to kids aged below 10 years everyday in school! Attending schools is a hard task in itself for most but having to do it on an empty stomach can be killing. And yet we expect our country to be 100% literate. There are 2 aspects to this. As you know most of the time the reason given by the parents who don’t send their children to school is “how will we feed them if they don’t work along with us.” The second one being that even if they send a hungry child to school who cannot concentrate in class & thinks of only food then what good would it do to the parents, the child or the system?

This is where some NGO’s like the Akshaya Patra are a boon. I wasn’t aware of this NGO till I actually did some research for this post. I always believed that the government themselves took care of the mid day meals programme especially since there were so many reports in the newspapers of bad food being served to the children. That an NGO actually existed for the sole purpose of helping out in the mid day meals programmes in schools & that too since the year 2000 was news to me! If only we could also help them, we would not only make their jobs easier but also help those kids in school achieve something worthwhile in life!

So how can we help? No I’m not going to preach on what should be done because I don’t think I have the right to tell others what to do when I myself haven’t yet done anything for the cause. What I can do is just think of ways in which we all can be of some help.

1. It’s very easy to preach about donating money. But lets be honest, most of us find it very difficult to do so. So why not donate money based only on your lavish spending? Every time we go out with friends & spend money be it on food, drink or just to have a good time, lets make a note of that & set aside a small amount to donate for every unnecessary expenditure which at the end of the year can be handed over to a mid day meal programme. Not only will we be helping out the children but we’ll also realise how much of money we waste!

2. During weddings so much of food is ordered & so much of it is wasted. So every time there’s a big function at home why don’t set aside some money for a mid day meal programme. Better yet sponsor a meal for a school for a week. Let your relatives & friends know about it so that the others know that you’ve done a noble thing & encourage them to do the same.

3. A few years back I had seen NDTV’s initiative of “Light up a village” which involved encouraging donations towards providing electricity to villages with no facilities. The programme received a tremendous feedback with celebrities pitching in too. A similar initiative would really boost the mid day meal programme

4. Somehow see that the donations given reach the schools rather than the plates of a few politicians. This is probably the hardest part!

5. Blog! Yes just like me , post a blog on the issue & Blogadda will donate on behalf of your blog post! You will atleast feel that you’ve done something worthwhile.

6. Blogging may not be a great thing. If you want to make a real difference you can visit Akshaya Patra’s website (Click here) and make a donation.

Now I have the pleasure of nominating a few of my blogging friends to contribute a post and hence help out in the “Blog To Feed A Child” Initiative. And I choose

1. Mr Kunal Borah
2. Miss Ankita Singhal
3. Dr Vibina Narayanan
4. Mrs Farida Rizwan

I request you to provide a link to your posts in the comments section here so that others can read them.

Do watch this video:

Author’s note:


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