Anoop Khanna - Keeping Humanity Alive By Feeding Hungry Souls!
In today's scenario of inflation, a do-gooder is providing lunch, with the taste from grandma’s kitchen, in just 5 rupees. Yes, it is true and the name of this generous person is Anoop Khanna.
A social activist from Noida aims at providing quality food to poor and needy people at a minimal cost. "Dadi Ki Rasoi" a name which translates to "The Grandmother's Kitchen" is a roadside food shop founded by Anoop, which provides meals every day.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
This story is about how some people devote their lives to the betterment of society with the hope of making it livable for everyone.
Anoop Khanna was born in the house of a freedom fighter, in Moradabad, who fought alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the freedom struggle of India. He has always been keenly involved with social issues. Even from his childhood days, he looked towards the welfare of impoverished and ensured to help them in every possible way he can.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank: the play
In 1978, he graduated as a Bachelor of Science from Rohelkhand University, Moradabad. In his younger days, apart from being a sympathetic person, he was also a magnificent athlete who competed at various regional as well as the state level events. He was an exceptional sportsperson and has won several championships of Karate, Badminton and Table Tennis. His excellent achievement on the sports field was in the year 1975-76 when he successfully conquered the Uttar Pradesh table tennis championship.
Situations and circumstances forced him and his family to relocate to Noida in 1984. Anoop stepped foot in pharmacy retail and became an honest businessman, loved and adored even by his competitors and clients. Meanwhile, he got married and blessed with two beautiful children - a girl and a boy. Anoop remarkably worked hard and overcame all the setbacks that he came across, with a beautiful smile on his face and now he owns four pharmacy retail outlets in Noida.
Once upon a time, Anoop's mother became ill, and she had not been eating. Out of concern, he offered her a full meal, but she refused to eat and mockingly said, it would be much better if you feed a hungry soul rather than me. Sakshi Khanna, standing nearby heard her grandmother and convinced her father to commence the idea of "Dadi Ki Rasoi" - which provide quality food to poor and needy.
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ― John Holmes
Anoop consulted a few of his friends and acquaintances before he decided to make it official. Without much delay, he compiled a budget of 30,000 rupees and started the initiative on 21 August 2015, his birthday and the date recommended by his mom.
Initially, he started feeding about 15-20 poor people at his home, and the whole family was involved in the preparation and serving of the food. As the word spread, more and more people started joining into this noble cause. If the motive is worthy, people will automatically come forward to help you. Similarly, a bunch of local shopkeepers bought big utensils, commercial gas, and stoves which encouraged Anoop to continue and expand it further. At this time they only provided with Dal and Rice, but later on added pickle to the menu.
"The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others." - Albert Schweitzer
Hard work and persistence paid off as Dadi Ki Rasoi started to receive enormous moral and financial support from various organizations and individuals. Mohammed Azad, a vegetable vendor in Noida from where Anoop regularly bought the vegetables when came to know about Dadi ki Rasoi, started supplying the vegetables to him at a very reasonable rate. By then, Anoop was able to expand his reach and open two shops one at Sector 29 and the other at Sector 17 in Noida.
Mr. Khanna, being super careful about the quality of food managed to have four CCTV cameras installed in the kitchen and supervise the recordings himself. He also makes sure the food should be prepared and served in a proper hygienic way. In Dadi Ki Rasoi it is ensured that the ghee used is desi and the rice should be basmati only. Now, they also have variety in their menu as per the days. Where Khichdi would be the meal for Sundays, on special occasions, Rasgullas and ice-creams become the part of the list.
He started this novel initiative three years ago and as present conditions he his feeding and getting blessed by 500 hungry souls daily.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ― Maya Angelou
Being part of Dadi Ki Rasoi they never asked for any help, but the people who wanted to be the part of this beautiful initiative are always welcome with open arms. Even customers are never asked to pay the money; they are supposed to put it in the box, placed in the food serving area. The money collection box is kept open, pointing towards the sky so that God's blessings could always fill it, as described by Anoop.
Why 5 Rupees Only?
Anoop responds wonderfully: “What we need to do is to make things economical. No one should beg for anything. I don’t want to treat the people who are financially weak as beggars. I don’t support the reservation system. At the same time, no one has to bother about the quality and taste of the food”
Today Dadi Ki Rasoi is providing meals every day between 10 am -11:30 am in Sector 17 and 12 pm - 2 pm in Sector 29 Noida. You can see people from various sects and professions like a watchman, gardener, students or even a simple middle-class family enjoying the delicious economical meal.
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ― John Bunyan
Anoop Khanna and his "Dadi Ki Rasoi" are setting an example that humanity still exists; there are people who believe in keeping it alive.