Before the pandemic outbreak, Mohammed Dawood of Chamru Khansama Lane, Park Circus, used to make biryani, kebabs and firni, as part of his family business. He used to take orders from customers to cook special Mughlai delicacies. But once the lockdown was announced, Dawood and his friends, Seku and Raju, decided to try something different. They started making khichdi and sabzi for hundreds of homeless people living in Park Circus area.
Around the same time, Calcutta Gymkhana Tennis Club took an initiative to feed the poor in their locality and sought help from Dawood. “From April 1, we started distributing food with the help of Kolkata Police. Till today, we have distributed more than 20,000 food packets in our area,” said Pramode Agarwal, treasurer of the club.
The menu is simple — khichdi, rice and sabzi or pulao. “For generations, our family cooked biryani and other delicacies. People ordered and took delivery from us. But now, we are cooking khichdi for people in need. It is good that we could be of some help,” said Dawood, the head cook.
“We make khichdi five days in a week. On other two days, we make pulao and rice and sabzi. Dawood and his friends are fasting for Ramzam. Yet they are cooking for people in need. Our gardeners in the club are helping them with packaging,” said Amiya Bhattacharyya, secretary of the club.
The club has taken extra care to sanitise the food processing chain. While many of our helping hands stay on the club premises, people who come from outside are also scrutinised and sanitised regularly.
The club has been making at least 500 food packets every day. Cops from local police stations, including Beniapukur, Bhowanipur and Beliaghata, are collecting the packets and distributing them. “Sometimes, we make more packets and if need be, other police stations come forward to distribute as well. Initially, we had collected money from the club members. But once we figured that we have a bit excess fund, we handed over a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to the CM Relief Fund,” said Amiya.
Source: Times of India