Charity feasts go up every festival season in a blind rush to earn good karma. But the good luck buffet was never easy on the stomach of the feasters.
Indigestion: Neha Kumari, resident of an andh vidyalaya or school for the blind in Lajpat Nagar, has this single word to explain the after-effect. “Having eaten eight samosas since morning, I now have acidity. If you are doing a story for the newspaper please write they shouldn’t bring samosas.”
The same plea was heard at residential schools for blind children. “People bring us food, especially during shraads, Navratras and Diwali. But they get the same food, mostly fried,” says Anil Chauhan, who works with a hostel for blind girls in Sant Nagar.
But healthy karma is close at hand. Many residential schools for blind children have tied up with neighbourhood restaurants, where anybody planning to donate a meal to them can go and choose a package.
Depending on the eatery, people can treat 10 people for about INR 1,500, or pick an unlimited thali at INR 900 a plate at a nice restaurant. They can even order a la carte, after discussing the menu with those they plan to treat.
“They can pick a deal with a restaurant and pay for whatever number of people they want to feed, according to their budget. And we decide what we want to eat,” says Rajiv Kumar, a blind Delhi University graduate who is on many donors’ speed dial.
Kumar earns his bread from a small dhaba he runs with two sighted friends near a school for the blind. “While I am looking for a job, I started this dhaba. Now, I directly bring the donors and visually impaired people here for lunch or dinner,” he says.
Restaurants too are happy with the arrangement as it guarantees pre-booked business. “We need to be informed at least a day in advance about how many tables have to be booked, for how many people, and the menu,” says Mahender Singh, who runs a small eatery close to Sewa Kutir in Outram Lines.