Anna ki Rasoi: pehle pet pooja phir kaam dooja

Bags of potatoes, flour, sugar and rice are stacked to the roof at the shed that works as, “Anna ki Rasoi” the kitchen that’s feeding thousands of supporters fresh food free of cost.

The kitchen at the Bandra Kurla complex charged no money for feeding anyone and followed a strict ‘no counting’ policy. “I don’t know how many people have come or how much ration has been consumed,” Swami Param Chinatain from Jan Sewa Sansthan, Rohtak said. The Sansthan along with Mumbai’s Sri Giri Raj Sewa Samiti have made the generous arrangements. “Why should we count, our only aim is that every person has his fill at every single meal. We were with Annaji at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi and we would go with him wherever he goes,” Swami Param Chinatain said. Member in-charge of disposable plates estimated that over 20,000 people ate at the kitchen.

The day started with an endless supply of hot tea and ‘poha’ for breakfast and without any break between meals the 60-member kitchen staff started to serve ‘dal,’ ‘alu matar,’ poori and rice to thousands of supporters. Five men sitting in a row mechanically toss poories, passed to them from the poori-rolling team sitting behind, in massive vessels with boiling oil, to ensure that the long queues get fresh food without any wait.

The size of cooking utensils seemed small when compared to the dedication with which the culinary service was executed. “There is a saying — pehle pet pooja phir kaam dooja : the protesters need to shout loudly so that the voice can be heard by Parliament, so they need to be well fed,” a cook said as he turned a plate of heaped sugar into a drum of boiling water.

Kadam and his family left their home in Thane early morning to participate in the protest. “My wife was worried how the children would eat, what if it was not clean? So we carried tiffin with us but we had breakfast and lunch at the Rasoi as the children liked poori more.”

“The is only one Anna and a handful of members in his team, but hundreds of people that are doing their small role as well…we are doing this as a support to Anna ji, he is a honest and selfless man trying change the country’s law so that corrupt men can be easily punished,” Swami Param Chinatain said. Reluctantly he admitted that the cost of Ramleela maidan was over 12 lakhs,”to talk of money spent on feeding people is belittling the emotion of the volunteers and the supporters.”

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