August 26, 2015
Every Sunday early morning, for 24 years, B. Murugan has cooked a large feast in his kitchen. No, he is not a chef, nor does he cook for weddings. Murugan has been cooking to feed hundreds of underprivileged people on Sundays.
He cleans and cuts vegetables, washes rice and dal, and soaks tamarind. He then fries the spices and vegetables in a mix of oil and ghee and cooks them all into a fragrant sambar rice, studded with small onions and garnished with coriander. After his marriage, his wife joined him in the kitchen.
From 25 when he started off, his NGO Nizhal Maiyam now feeds 900 people. Sixty-five volunteers help Murugan deliver the food to orphanages and old age homes in Coimbatore. Every Sunday morning, the residents of these homes look forward to what they call “gama gama sambar sadham”.
Nothing gives me greater joy than feeding these people, says Murugan, who credits his former boss Shabeer Imani with inculcating in him the desire to help those less fortunate.
This is why Murugan never scrimps on quality. Every week, 37 kg of rice and dal, 1.5 kg of sambar powder, 25 kg of tomatoes, 12 kg of onion and kilos of vegetables such as carrot, radish, peas, black gram, drumstick and avaraikai go into the making of the feast. This works out to Rs. 11,000 every Sunday.
“Even now, Shabeer bhai gives me Rs. 15,000 a month to meet expenses. Other donors have sponsored vessels and vegetables. We accept any help. Our only condition is that volunteers must not smoke, drink or have any bad habits,” he says.
Murugan used to be an auto driver. Now, he drives a school van and he uses that money to fund his social service initiatives. He has also started a small unit to manufacture areca nut leaf sheath plates. Every Sunday, he and his group of volunteers plant saplings so that they can green the city.
Murugan is now looking to rehabilitate alms seekers of the city. He is in the process of acquiring land to set up a shelter for them. “No one must have to beg. We want to rehabilitate them and are looking for about two acres of land,” he adds.
If you wish to be part of the movement, call 98650-93251 or visit http://nizhalmaiyam.org/