Tamil Nadu

25 years on, tea stall owner serves food for ₹5

Keeping them fed: M. Ganesan, right, and his employees preparing the ₹5 food parcels.   | Photo Credit: JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

Tucked away in a corner of C.P. Ramaswamy Road, Laksmi Tea Stall that has policemen, security personnel and autorickshaw drivers sipping hot tea and munching on masal vadai, suddenly starts buzzing with activity at quarter past twelve. After a long morning, many who skip their breakfast are here to buy their first meal of the day.

Each of them pay ₹5 and buy hot parcels of sambhar rice or curd rice and pickle that arrive fresh from the kitchen.

Inside, 62-year-old M. Ganesan, who runs this tea stall and fast food stall nearby, is wrapping up parcels of sambhar rice and curd rice, in a jiffy, handing them over to his assistants, who take them out for distribution immediately. “I started this tea stall in 1996 and just before that, I saw an old man serving food at a reasonable price for the poor then. I didn’t know him but he inspired me. I started then, and for nearly 25 years now, I have been selling food packets for ₹5,” he says.

Every day, there will be a variety rice available — either lemon rice, tomato rice, sambhar rice, curd rice or Puliyodharai (tamarind rice). Though the prices of essential commodities have risen drastically, he continues to sell food at the same price. “The idea is anyone who is hungry should be able to afford a meal here. I do little things like adding raisins to curd rice and purchasing good quality rice, which most of my customers cannot afford. I had to reduce the quantity a little, but I will never compromise on the quality. That’s the reason why even after 25 years, so many come to buy our food parcels,” he adds.

He used to serve the food on plates but nowadays, to avoid crowding, he has started giving parcels. Every day, within an hour, they give away nearly 800 packets, he says. “At the end of each day, I return home with satisfaction, knowing that I was able to serve the hungry,” Mr. Ganesan says.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 10:51:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/25-years-on-tea-stall-owner-serves-food-for-5/article37118359.ece

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