Two women – one who runs a rice and fish curry pice hotel on the pavement opposite to Science College in Ballygunge and the other who owns multiple Chinese cuisine restaurants in the city – have emerged as Kolkata’s standout Covid heroes through their acts of compassion.
Anita Pattanaik, a resident of Ramnagar in East Midnapore, had landed in Kolkata two decades ago after being married to Subhas, and joined his pice hotel business on the Ballygunge Circular Road pavement. The hotel serves veg meals for Rs 25 per plate and non-veg meals for Rs 40 per plate. Nearly a month-and-a-half into the lockdown, Pattanaik continues to cook 6kg rice and 3.5kg meat, defying warnings from the police and braving the threat of viral attack. She does it not for cab drivers, chauffeurs, mechanics and pedestrians, but for 33 neighbourhood mongrels. She spends Rs 500 daily on it. “Cops have threatened us to demolish the eatery and put me behind the bars if I don’t stop cooking. But who will then feed the dogs?” she said. Around 4km away in Tangra, it is deja vu for Monica Liu who has assiduously built a flourishing restaurant business over the last three decades. During the 1962 Indo-China war, Liu and other Chinese Indians had undergone a five-and-a-half-year lockdown when they had been interned at a camp in Rajasthan.
Liu said that she and the rest of the community understand the pain of people during the lockdown, especially those who aren’t privileged. They have now stepped forward to help the communities settled in Tangra and distributed 6,000 ration packets to needy families there. “We can’t be oblivious to the hunger. More than anything else, it’s a time to be humane,” she said.
Source: Times of India