City cops were busy maintaining law and order on the chaotic last day of Ganesh Chaturthi. But they were in for a treat when residents of Sheth Karsandas Natha Trust Bhatia in Girgaum decided to show their gratitude by serving more than 2,500 policemen from VP Road, DB Marg, Gamdevi and Tardeo home-cooked food through the day.
Twenty-five residents of the building collected a sum of Rs 2 lakh, contributing Rs 5,000 from their own pocket, while the building’s trustees Shashikant Jasrani and Harjeevan Lilani provided the rest. The service was carried out for policemen, including traffic cops, home guards, state reserve police force and commandos.
Says a member of the group who wished to remain anonymous, “We started this nine years ago, when we noticed hawaldars eating dry, cold food out of plastic bags during Ganpati visarjan (immersion). We figured, if the policemen work for us throughout the year, why can’t we serve them food on one day? We wanted to let them know that theirs isn’t a thankless job.”
The mess opened at 8 am on Sunday and closed the next morning at 6 am after Parel’s Lalbaugcha Raja passed Prarthna Samaj in Girgaum.
It provided Maharashtrian dishes like pooran poli, korma roti, surti dal and rice for lunch, and patal bhaji, jeera rice, dal fry and fruit salad for dinner. Tea and snacks were also provided all day long.
Nandkumar Chougule, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), who ate at the cafeteria, says, “My staff and I went in as a group, and were welcomed so warmly by the residents that we were overwhelmed.”