Challenges are a part of the journey called life, but what if you face a challenge that no one has ever faced before? One such situation arose due to the pandemic and the bleak times that accompanied, making it the most challenging part of many a people’s lives. As the world came to a standstill and livelihoods depleted, the biggest problem that came forth was that of one of the basic necessities of life – food.
When several nations across the globe entered lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19, India joined the league as well. However, the decision was not so kind on marginalized sections of the society. At such a perilous time, many restaurant business owners across the country came forward to bridge the gap between the food resources and those who were in dire need of them. One such restaurateur has been Khan Chacha owner Navneet Kalra.
In the busy locale of New Delhi’s Khan Market, Navneet Kalra took up the onus to feed the underprivileged by setting up daily langars back in March 2020. The initiative provided food to more than 700 people every day. The beneficiaries of Kalra’s initiative included guards, labourers, daily wage workers and migrants, who all were struggling to make ends meet during the lockdown.
For the uninitiated, Navneet Kalra owns several prominent restaurants across Delhi NCR. These include the popular kebab and rolls joint Khan Chacha, Pan-Asian restaurant Town Hall, Chinese restaurant Mr Choy, which all are nestled in Khan Market. Before starting the daily langars during the lockdown, Navneet Kalra was already known for organizing weekly langars for the underprivileged on Tuesdays.
Reminiscing how the frequency of the langars increased from being a weekly affair to a daily occurrence, the Khan Chacha owner shared that it was at the behest of some policemen that he decided to distribute free meals to the underprivileged every day. “I have been organising langars every Tuesday for many years now,” says Navneet Kalra.
He continues, “When the lockdown began, some policemen who knew about my weekly langar asked if I can provide food daily to some labourers, guards and migrant workers around Khan Market. I was more than happy to do it and so we decided to provide free lunch and dinner every day. Each day we feed around 700 people.”
Kalra roped in his restaurants’ kitchen staff to help him in this noble gesture. The meals were prepared while maintaining all hygiene standards. The cooked food was then distributed by the police personnel in the area, along with the restaurant staff. “I thank the Almighty every day for putting me in a position from where I could help so many people. I am glad that my effort helped people out at a time when they needed it the most,” says Navneet Kalra.