17 September, 2019
Just about a week back, the social media in India was abuzz with the news of an 80-year-old lady from Vadivelampalayam, near Coimbatore, Kamalathal. So, what made this frail-looking, nondescript old lady so famous in social media, which is usually ruled by the Millenials? It was her passion to serve the society and do her bit, even when she was struggling to make a decent living herself.
Kamalathal has been serving idlis along with piping hot sambar and chutney and charges a very minimal Re. 1, per plate. She starts her work early in the morning, and runs her shop through the year and uses wood as cooking fuel, as she cannot afford to use the cooking gas. She has been providing around 1000 idlis per day for the past three decades; a supreme act of commitment to service of society, when so many of us comfortably prefer to take the easy route, “What can I do”, or “I cannot afford to do it”. Kamalathal is proof that if you have a will, you will find the way, and all you need is a golden heart, filled with love to serve.
The trending story
Her story started trending on Twitter, when industrialist Anand Mahindra tweeted a video of hers, saying that he was willing to ‘invest’ in her business, by buying her a gas stove. Twitterati responded favourably and told him that many others in the vicinity could do the same. This also got the attention of the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel, who arranged for her to get an LPG connection within a day and tweeted the same to indicate that he was glad to have been able to help.
Anand Mahindraji tweeted his thanks to the Minister, and also indicated and committed that he would bear the costs of her continuing LPG refills, as many Twitterati had pointed out this fact as well. So, once again, the people of the country saw the power of social media. It also reiterated the fact that nothing succeeds like selfless service to society. Kamalathal is thankful for the initiatives and maintains that what drives her is only the desire to feed the people, especially, the day wage labourers, who cannot afford to eat decent food otherwise.
The point to be noted here is that she even grinds the idli batter manually by herself. She uses the right rupees kg rice and makes sure that the idlis she serves out every day, is made from fresh batter, and are nice, fluffy and tasty. Any wonder then, that many people make a beeline to her place, and are regulars there. All is well that ends well, they say, and perhaps, Kamalathal can have a slightly better, safer and easier way to cook her idlis, henceforth and can serve many more people, happily.
What can we do?
Often, we see such people and are moved and talk about them to other people and stop at that. But, someone, made a small video of her and put it up on social media, which caught the attention of a famous industrialist and you see the difference that it made to the society. The two big learning’s here are 1. Age and money are never good enough excuses for not doing something. 2. If you do good, the good also comes back to you in many ways, so you can continue to do more good.
Also, if we cannot ourselves do something good, selflessly in this way, the least we could do is to bring such people to the fore, so that at least they get the respect they deserve. And as this story proved out, there are always people out there who are willing to pitch in and help as well. Let’s at least try to be that Good Samaritan, who supports the good Samaritans, if nothing else. That way, we would still be serving society in some way.
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