Noida: A meal at just rupees 5! That too cooked in desi ghee. And a name like ‘Dadi ki Rasoi’. While roaming around the lanes of Sector 29, Noida, you might stumble upon this place. A place where the needy get a hearty and quality full lunch meal.
Don't let the name ‘Dadi ki Rasoi’ fool you. You might expect it but you are not going to find an old granny serving food here. The place is run by Anup Khanna, a man with long white locks of hair and an impressive mustache to match. A social activist at heart and in his deeds, he owns two pharmacy shops, besides running ‘Dadi ki Rasoi’. At ‘Dadi ki Rasoi’ most often you will witness him serving the food with his own hands. As expected, the palace draws a crowd made up of commuters, labourers, and rickshaw drivers, having a full meal.
Khanna has a clear moto that he follows: small steps bring big changes in our society. Says, he, “From the time I have been in Noida, I have been involved in various social activities. My father, who was active during the independence movement and worked along with freedom fighters such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, has always inspired me to work for the welfare of the nation.”
While talking about why he started giving meals for such rates, he says, “In 2015, my mother was ill, and one day in a conversation with family members, she said that she wanted me to open a food shop for the needy people of Noida. My children supported the idea and we decided upon the name. Then, in 2015 on my birthday, I started "Dadi ki Rasoi". The food is cooked in desi ghee and caters to over 500 people every day.”
To begin with, Khanna was serving 15-20 people for lunch. But soon the popularity of the place grew and more food was needed. That is when other shopkeepers from the market too chipped in.
The menu also keeps changing from dal rice, to chickpea curry to other vegetable curries. “To respect the dignity and not treat the poor as beggars, I decided to take a nominal amount of Rs 5 and not give food for free.” From laborers to students to private employees, Dadi ki Rasoi is providing food to everyone. As of now, there are two such stalls operating in Noida.
Interestingly, Khanna did not stop just at the food stall. He also operates a 'Sadhbhavna store' where needy people can get clothes for just Rs 10. Anup added, “At 'Sadhbhavna Store', anyone, especially the underprivileged can walk-in and shop like any other individual. Inspired by my little effort, now many people have come forward in this initiative and extended their support.``
Recently, he has also enrolled himself with 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana and opened Noida’s first 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra' which ensures medicines at affordable prices. Says Khanna, “From education to sports to the welfare of the common people, I have worked in my full individual capacity to help my fellow citizens. Today, the basic requirement for any person is - "Roti, Kapda aur Dawai", and my aim is to make these three things accessible to the poorest people, with dignity.”