Sunday, 19 July 2015


Here, drink your fill

A happy occasion for the beggars

Smiles of satisfaction at a work well done

Lopa & Arin Dubey


Tue 17 Feb, 2015, Shivaratri

It was rather late in the evening, and at Ganapati Chowk, Viman Nagar, which also has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, it was the usual sight. A long line of devotees, snaked its way outside the temple, each clutching in their hands the flowers, fruits and milk required for the religious rituals. And as usual, there were the hordes of beggars waiting patiently for the odd coin or piece of fruit that would come their way.

What was unusual was the sight of a small group of smart young women, offering milk in plastic cups to the beggars and their children, who were lapping up this treat with obvious relish!

Surely they’d got it wrong?! Wasn’t that milk supposed to be poured over the Shivalingam? “No,” they asserted, “we’ve got it right! We are sure Shivji will be pleased that it’s being put to good use, and providing nutrition to these hungry beggars, rather than flowing uselessly down the gutters!”

Logically, many of us have had similar thoughts, but it needed someone like these go-getters – Madhubanti Pandey and her friends Priyanka Bhutani, Swekcha Vaidya, Sakshi Pathak and Nidhi Motwani - to act upon it. All working professionals, they had come straight from office to pay obeisance at the temple, when this sudden idea occurred to them.

But didn’t the devotees argue with them? “Strangely, they complied with alacrity. Many of them confessed to feeling guilty at wasting all that milk. Others were glad that someone else too, had thought of it. After all, we didn’t ask them to stop the practice totally. They sprinkled a few drops as per ritual, while the rest went to feed a hungry beggar. In fact, a few ladies, who had kept certain mannats, even went to the extent of buying fresh packets of milk to give the beggars.”

In half an hour, the group had collected upwards of 10 litres, which the beggars gulped down hungrily. But now that the idea had caught on, the milk came pouring in, and even the beggars couldn’t drink any more. The group was in a quandary because they had no utensils to collect all that milk - more than 32 litres!!! And, what would they do with it?

It was almost midnight now. Madhubanti called up her sister and brother-in-law, Lopamudra and Arin Dubey. They hurried there with large cans,bottles, pateelas, whatever they could lay their hands on. Arin contacted Sharmila Mazumdar. Sharmila, who runs her own social group ‘Upasana’, and also helps with our Team Miracle activities, called me up. I suggested Sarva Seva Sangh - a children’s Shelter?

It was past midnight, when they finally delivered it…and for 3 days, the little kids there got a treat of thick nutritious curd rice.

This group of young women have resolved to repeat their action next year, but yes, they’ll be better planned! As for Arin and Lopa, they are already into a number of welfare activities privately, and also from the office CSR front. A few months ago, they visited a Deaf & Dumb School in Shirur, where they distributed snacks and donated fans for the classrooms.

Arin has another idea up his sleeve. Appalled at the quantity of food wasted by restaurants at the end of the day, he is trying to find a way to have these delivered to needy people. Bakeries are another source he plans to check out.  (We would welcome any useful ideas connected to this)

In the meantime…Hats off to this gutsy group for taking a much-needed step forward!!!


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