#NewsBytesExclusive: Meet the man who feeds needy for Rs. 5Last updated on Feb 25, 2019, 04:42 pm
At a time when nothing comes easy or cheap, when pessimism has sort of won, and no one really takes an initiative to right the wrongs, a man named Anoop Khanna has been restoring our faith in humanity.
Khanna, who runs Dadi Ki Rasoi in Noida, gives food to the needy for just Rs. 5. And he has no plans of increasing the price either.
NewsBytes spoke to Khanna to understand why he started this noble act, his life in general and the attention he gets.
Here's where can you find Khanna's Dadi Ki Rasoi
If you ever visit Ganga Shopping Complex in Noida Sector-29 post noon, you will find a long queue of people standing outside a counter.
The queue ends at a smiling Khanna who serves dal, chawal and achaar (pickle) to people. Those who can't afford to eat out at lavish restaurants come to Dadi Ki Rasoi religiously for delicious food.
The price is a bonus.
Khanna has been involved in social work for years
When we asked Khanna how the idea came to his mind, he said, "I have been doing social work for the last 20-25 years. I visited Uttarakhand and Bihar after floods as well."
Like others, Khanna's "first innings" were dedicated to earning a livelihood and raising his kids. But he wanted to do something in his "second innings".
"My mother spoke about starting something like this, and I did," added Khanna.
Khanna doesn't support freebies, hence charges nominal cost
Now any sane mind would conclude Khanna isn't charging much. He could have done it for free too but decided to take money.
On being asked why, Khanna replied, "I have always been against freebies and reservation. I believe basic necessities should be made cheap as there is really no cap on luxuries."
He went on to say when a person pays Rs. 5 for his meal, his self-respect gets a boost as well. Hence, the cost.
Support from vendors and shopkeepers help Khanna sustain his idea
In this quest, Khanna got the support of like-minded people who made the model sustainable.
He revealed he gets products at a low cost. "I get one kg ghee for Rs. 300. The vegetable vendor also gives me items at an appreciative cost. This makes it possible for me to run this model."
However, he stressed that he doesn't compromise on quality.
Even well-earning people pay a visit
With a sense of pride in his voice, Khanna told us people sometimes come in "big cars" to taste his food.
After running Dadi Ki Rasoi for more than three years, Khanna has now broadened the menu by including tandoori roti, sweets, and fruits.
But the better menu is only restricted to the needy. The well-off customers are served with the basic items.
If you lack basic etiquette, you won't get food
Khanna also told us he aims to teach people about forgotten civic sense with his initiative.
If you want to get served, you have to follow rules like parking your car properly, carrying a helmet (if you are on a bike), keeping change ready and throwing plates in the bin.
"I don't like that people waste time over such trivial things," Khanna said.
Khanna's day starts at 7, serves food at two stalls
Khanna starts his day at 7 AM. After a jog (exercise) in the park with his wife, Khanna purchases vegetables.
His staff members get to work and by 10 AM he reaches Sector 17 for his first stall. After wrapping up by 11:30, Khanna serves food to people at Ganga Shopping Complex from noon.
The process usually ends at 2 PM, or till food lasts.
His work got him invited to President House
Khanna's work has got him recognition and last year he was invited to the President House.
With humility, he informed us social workers from around the country were called to discuss a model which could benefit a large population.
"It became possible due to Mr. Sanjay Kothari, the Chief Secretary of President House. We call the initiative 'Mission Possible' and I hope all of us build something great together," he said.
Will Khanna ever increase the cost? No, he confirmed
Khanna added recognition encourages people like him. "I hope government also draws inspiration from the work we are doing," he said.
So does he plan to increase the price? Not until Rs. 5 is valid currency, he said. "After that will use Paytm but will not increase the rate," Khanna told us.
When asked about expanding to more stalls, Khanna had a logical response.
Why do we expect everything from one person, asks Khanna
"Why should only one man do everything? We have this tendency of complaining. I hear people say (Narendra) Modi, Rahul (Gandhi), didn't do anything. I ask them: Shouldn't you do something as well. It isn't a difficult task," said Khanna.
Khanna's work has touched lives of many
Khanna's views are well-reflected in his actions. When a patron wants to make a contribution, he asks the person to stand with him and serve food.
"Rupay ka karm karna bahut asaan hai, karm ka nai (Spending money is easy, doing things isn't)," he said.
He added several youngsters love his work and that's what he always aspired for.
Roti, kapda aur dawayi: How Khanna expanded his work
Apart from food, Khanna also runs Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Yojana Kendra in the same area.
"There are only a few stores in Noida and I run one of them. People can get important medicines at cheap rates from here," he explained.
He also gives clothes to needy which are donated to him. "Roti, kapda aur dawayi, teeno ek jagah," he said.
Khanna ended with an important message for all
For those wishing to do something for society, Khanna had a message: Never do it for fame. I don't see myself as a great man but as a coordinator who is doing what he set out to do. I enjoy what I am doing and so should you.
He also asked the youth to first achieve their dreams, secure future and then think of returning to society.
"Before you say 'Money isn't important' make sure you have earned enough," Khanna signed off, saying.