Sunday, 18 August 2013

Akashyapatra

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I have taken the liberty of exceeding more than 100 words as this piece of information couldn't be condensed. Write Tribe readers please bear with me.



Akshayapatra which means inexhaustible vessel, is given to Yudhishtra by Lord Surya (Sun God) to satiate the hunger pangs of the Pandavas and the sages who visited their humble abode. This vessel would give them unlimited food everyday till Draupadi finished eating. In this way the exiled Pandavas along with Draupadi were never deprived of food , food which gives the human body energy to sustain and keep the body and soul together. Feeding a hunger person in Hindu mythology is considered to a holy act of the highest order as the soul too is fed.
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The Akshaya Patra Foundation's kitchen in Jagatpura, Jaipur starts at 2.a.m. and continues till 7 a.m. preparing tonnes of dal and rice, lakhs of rotis and sabzis, to feed 1.25 lakh school children as part of mid day plans.
The first hour is utilized in washing and cleaning the vessels thoroughly using steam jets. After sanitisation process, the cooks take over. Nobody can walk into the kitchen without shoe covers,masks and head covers. So strict are their rules that no wearing of jewellery is allowed. The food cooked is of good quality and is supplied to Govt. schools 
This sprawling kitchen is divided into 2 sections - wet and dry sections. The dry section comprises of 3 lakhs rotis rolled out in two hours in a mechanised way. The phulkas(rotis) are baked and a smattering of ghee is applied to keep them soft and are packed in large containers lined with absorbent papers to absorb the hot vapour.
In the wet section dal, sabzi and rice are cooked and packed into delivery containers.
The kitchen in Jaipur has a small bakery too making wheat cakes and cookies once a week, a delicacy the schoolchildren wait for. The main menu too is tweaked every day to give variety, with items such as tomato rice, peas pulao, sweet rice, kheerkadhi with soya nuggets and sambar.
This Foundation 's responsibility ends with the delivery of the food to the schools and thereafter the responsibility of  distribution of the food rests with the school authorities.
The Foundation has to depend on donations from corporate houses and individual donors for funds."
Indeed the Akshaya Patra Foundation is doing a yeoman service in feeding the children.

FOR : WRITE TRIBE # 3 - FOOD FOR THE SOUL