By Sonia Khudanpur
“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” This saying applies to a vast majority of India’s population. We are a country where on one hand children hog on burgers and fries and on the other hand, children who manage a single meal a day or sleep hungry. Both these children belong to the same land but their lives are distinctly different.
There is a noticeable sense of apathy for the neglected portion of society in the government, corporate houses and citizens. Our eating habits are a suitable example to represent the apathetic attitude of the well-to-do towards the poor. It is common for a middle-class or upper-middle class family to visit a restaurant, to eat as much as they can stomach and dump the rest in the bin. The remaining food that is prepared in restaurants, especially where food is prepared in bulk, is thrown away as left-over or given to the staff. Such wastage of a basic necessity such as food, points to the utter lack of concern for the deprived.
The Fame multiplex in Malad throws away all its food at the end of the day. The last time the food in the theatre is consumed is during the late night shows. According to one of the men working at the food counter inside the theatre, all the popcorn, samosas and sandwiches are thrown in the bin to make way for the fresh stock.
With the kind of money power that such entertainment organizations have, it is not hard for them to coordinate with an NGO to transport the food to a location where it can be used or give it to the local people in the area who inhabit the street. This may be too much to ask for, but it is not an impossible task.
A lot of restaurants are already practicing the habit of giving left-over food to those in need. A hotel named Sarovar, outside Kandivali station regularly gives food to the poor street kids in the area. By evening the children come to collect the food.
Some may argue saying that we are not obliged to feed the poor of this country, but this is the least one can do to ensure that people have sufficient food to survive.
At an individual level one can always carry left-over food from home in a bag and give it to someone who needs it. The fact of the matter is that it is not lack of food, but is the availability of affordable food that is the problem in this country. The least one can do is to give food that is not needed to someone who will gladly use it.