Food for Thought by Meeta Chaitanya: Manju's Story
Renewable Goodness – Achievable!
The sad contrariety and ubiquitous irony of India is evident in the faces of laborious farmers who feed millions daily – but sleep hungry.
Rudravva is no exception. Like many, she toils on the fields with her husband everyday for 8 - 10 hours to tend to wheat, cotton and red pepper produce, but barely manages to sell the produce once every three months.
With an expenditure of Rs 1, 50, 000, they accrue a marginal profit of Rs 30 - 40, 000. However, the irony of plenty in their life is that in spite of having enough grain to feed their family, they still go hungry many a time. Rudravva’s farm is hemmed in by factories churning out waste and chemicals into the water, leaving it untenable for consumption.
An unequal partnership – the marriage of industry and agriculture remains imbalanced in this part of the country too.
It is almost impossible for her and her peers to cook healthy meals or drink clean water. “Our children are continually sick. Coughing, wheezing and asthma are the most common ailments. And the food cooked with the polluted water make it worse for them. Akshaya Patra meals are a welcome rescue. We had once visited the kitchen and seen how hygienically the meals are prepared. Ever since, me and my fellow villagers are sending our children to school regularly and we are assured of one healthy meal a day which will help fight the unhealthiness and diseases in some way. Thanks to Akshaya Patra, my son Manju is going to school for the past 6 years now and both his stomach and future are secured,” says she.
Polluted water may have rendered many generations before him debilitated but for Manju, the green goodness of a healthy meal is both achievable and secure. When he grows up on a healthy stomach and a sound education, he may be able to challenge cyclical mechanical process with his renewable energy, and Renewable Energy.