Have you ever had to experience the hateful sting of hunger? The very thing that reminds you're nothing but a mere mortal?. For me, I've had my fair share.
I was born into a fairly rich upper middle class family, thanks to that I've had five meals a day and I was always a chubby kid. When I started earning on my own, there was this brief time I did not have many responsibilities. So I spent it mostly on adding to my waistline – owing to the fact that I've never had alcohol in my life and there was no better way to spend it at where I come from.
Things changed all of a sudden on a fateful night. I had to go out of town for a presentation and it was really late when I came back, I haven't had anything to eat that day, and since the presentation got over much later than I expected, and since I had to ride a long way through unfamiliar places, I didn't want dinner to slow me down, the hungry stomach and my sense of urgency rode my bike a lot faster than I normally would. Not long after I entered city, the night patrols stationed by the side of the road signaled me to stop, in my attempt to stop I didn't know what I did to topple my bike over, but I do remember a few good somersaults before I landed on the hard ground with a heavy thud bleeding to death. I felt a murderous pain in the back of my head, like several white hot needles being plunged in. I still have the mark.
When I came around, I was in ward 9 of a government hospital, which I would later learn from my very angry family that it is a ward where they admitted the poor and homeless, people died there everyday due to sheer starvation. I did not have anything to eat for the next day and a half, they did not give me food, they weren't obliged to. The only food I had then was half an orange shared by an unknown inmate, a small kid. Let me be realistic here, normally, I wouldn't accept to share food with an unknown, unclean kid from an unhealthy hospital environment, that was the day I realized people would do anything to avoid hunger, all of a sudden all the cliches in the novels and movies made sense, those were written by people who had known the hateful sting of hunger.
That was the worst day and half of my life, I've never felt so low before and after it, the worst experiences of my life came flashing to my mind, despite my best efforts for happy thoughts, I was hungry, I was hurt and I was alone. I couldn't even think, if I had the energy to, I would have cried out loud. When my folks turned up later that day, I was discharged and taken back to a warm bed and a hot bowl of porridge. Nothing ever tasted better than that one bowl of porridge I had, I suddenly felt right in body and mind, I was getting back to my usual cheerful self. That was also the day I realized a fuller stomach meant higher spirits.
What did I do about the inmates of ward 9 ? You'll never know, because thats not what I'm writing this about, this is about something that has a greater impact and a greater purpose than anything that I will ever be able to do. This is about Akshaya Patra. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the largest non-profit organisation in the world to implement the school meal programme. They reach out to over 12 lakhs children in 19 locations across 9 states of India, providing them with freshly cooked meal on a day to day basis. These kids, they need food, they need higher spirits to achieve greater heights, to have a higher moral standard. They're the future. I wouldn't ask you to donate out of charity, I implore you to INVEST in the future of our country. Take one step closer to brighter future, this is something you can do. do it.