Lunch at ₹5, TV and air-conditioned comfort to beat the heat at Dadi Ki Rasoi
Social worker and businessman Anoop Khanna (60), who started Dadi Ki Rasoi in 2015, said he wanted to provide the underprivileged with one square meal a day at a nominal rate
For the last seven years, daily wage workers, helpers, auto-rickshaw drivers and other members of the working class population around Noida’s Sector 29 have been eating lunch for ₹5 at the famous Dadi Ki Rasoi (Grandmother’s Kitchen) near the Ganga Shopping Complex. So far, they would buy the food from a stall in the street and eat in the open, come rain, shine or freezing cold. From Wednesday, however, they were able to sit in an air-conditioned room and watch television while eating in peace.
Social worker and businessman Anoop Khanna (60), who started Dadi Ki Rasoi in 2015, said he wanted to provide the underprivileged with one square meal a day at a nominal rate.
“By paying a token amount of ₹5, people can buy food with dignity, instead of feeling like they are being given charity. Over the last seven years, the cost of ingredients, be it rice, mustard oil, onions or tomatoes, has increased manifold, but I continue to provide the food for ₹5,” said Khanna, who runs a chemist shop at Ganga Shopping Complex.
So far, Khanna was selling food at an outdoor stall in the street adjacent to the complex, but this often posed problems.
“After buying the food, we’d have to look for shade under a tree or go back inside the complex and eat while sweating due to the heat in the summer. We asked Mr Khanna if he could arrange a space for us with at least a fan where we could sit and eat,” said Rukmini Devi, a sweeper at Ganga Shopping Complex who regularly eats lunch at Dadi Ki Rasoi.
Khanna said he then decided to rent another shop next to his own at the complex and equipped it with CCTV cameras, an air-conditioner and a television.
“The rate of rent at the complex decreased during the pandemic so I decided to rent the shop as I anyway needed a space to cook. Before this, I was getting the food cooked outdoors,” he said.
Now, once the food is cooked, the stove and other utensils are taken out of the shop, which is then converted into a mini restaurant between 12pm and 2pm everyday.
On Wednesday, those who regularly ate at the food stall were taken by surprise when they were asked to sit inside the air-conditioned shop.
“There is very little that one can buy with ₹5 today, but at Dadi Ki Rasoi, apart from a full plate of food complete with desi ghee, we can also now enjoy the cool breeze of the air conditioner. I look forward to eating here everyday,” said Shankar, a helper at one of the shops in the complex and a regular at Dadi Ki Rasoi.
Dadi Ki Rasoi feeds over 500 people everyday, according to Khanna. Often, the food is sponsored by residents and other good Samaritans around the area who want to donate to charity.