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Food for Thought by Meeta Chaitanya: Ramanjanamma's Joy

Meeta Chaitanya
Columnist for The Times of India

Beyond tomatoes and potatoes

To a mother, the only thing of any importance is her children’s happiness - and heath, and peace, and education, and prospects, and…you get the idea…

Ramanjanamma is no different. In fact, given the daunting circumstances that she has faced economically, her aspirations for her children are colored more vibrantly, more indomitably.

Some time ago Ramanjanamma, a farmer, was forced to sell her land to an upcoming mining company in order for her to be able to build a house with the money thus secured. Although farming had been in the family’s lineage, the fear that her land will be occupied illegally prompted her to sell it.

Satisfied with the money she received, she was able to secure her family’s future then but today she is left with nothing after building her house. She now works on someone else’s land and does everything from watering to ploughing the fields. Her job has her exhausted by the end of the day leaving her children with no option but to eat whatever she can put together readily. In spite of working on farms, tending to produce every single day, the most that she gets at her village is tomatoes, onions and potatoes.

“The local market is far away. It takes almost 45 minutes to reach there by bus. The inaccessibility leads to helplessness most of the times and we are forced to eat whatever they sell in our village and most often you would only get tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. With such less variety, how will our children grow? They get fed up eating the same food,” says she.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s reach of 1.3 million mid-day meal beneficiaries changed the menu for her and her kids. “One day, when I heard about Akshaya Patra meals, I made my children get some food home so I could taste. After that till today, my three children haven’t missed school a single day. The variety and the flavors of the food are of high quality and really appreciable. As a mother, I don’t have to feel guilty about being unable to give my children delicious wholesome food anymore!”

Tasted and tested by a mother – sometimes - to a mother, the only thing that matters is beetroot – or anything beyond potatoes and tomatoes!

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