“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” -Paul Prudhomme
Note: The following post does not strictly pertain to food. However, it contributes in broadening our awareness and the horizon.
Not many foodies have thought of exploring the creative world of the not so fortunate. As for many, inequality is nothing but being asked to step aside for a random check at the airport. We all tend to forget that inclusiveness too is one of our many responsibilities. In doing so, one should be prepared to get pleasantly surprised every now and then. That is precisely what happened with me.
Recently, I got the opportunity to visit different bastis (slums) of Indore. It was delightful to find developed concrete roads and neatly potted plants in most households. I came across the perfect example of empowerment where women take the responsibility of improving their life and hygiene conditions.
However, it goes without saying that the reason behind this attitude of hope among the inhabitants of these bastis is the support provided by the Urban Health Resource Centre team. The UHRC program works towards building the capacity of these residents to take charge of processes that affect family economics, health, education, nutrition, housing improvement and overall social well-being. The outcome is very encouraging.
I was quite impressed by the structured approach towards self sustenance and health. Regular training and workshops have enabled these women to understand the consequences of not eating healthy. It was an eye opener to be part of one such nutrition workshop. Women here are already aware of needs and guidelines, and could relate nutritional deficiencies to diseases suffered by them.
Their enthusiasm is very contagious. Some of them even prepared the snacks they had learnt in previous sessions, and most could talk about the nutritional values of the same. The dry snacks were offered to me with much love and happiness. It was at this the moment when realisation dawned on me as to how we have started focussing too much on the quality, quantity and flavours when it comes to food. Nowadays, the value of gratitude towards food has taken a back seat.
The ladies here learnt to prepare sprouts, and some even volunteered to prepare the snacks from sprouted black chana and kabuli chana. Following this, a few days later and with much enthusiasm, the volunteers invited almost everyone from the community. We were all equally delighted to taste the flavoursome and tasty snacks.
However, they need a regular reminder as these inputs tend to get lost in their daily struggle. Shabnam and Neeraj, two diligent workers from the UHRC team, have been very consistent in their approach and the results are positive. Not only this, the families are encouraged to grow their own vegetables in whatever space they have. As a result, more and more families are trying to have their very own kitchen gardens and use their home-grown fresh vegetables. This adds to the contentment, a sense of achievement and responsibility, alongside health and other benefits.
In Lewis Gizzard’s words, “It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”
Various data sources prove that there is a direct relationship between calorie intake and productivity. It’s a poverty trap out here, which makes such measures even more crucial. Hence, for everyone’s benefit, we must do whatever it takes to break this curse.
– A piece by Deepti Rana