“You gave me something to eat”
It happened on October 31, 2014 at the Delhi Darbar restaurant at Connaught Place, Delhi. I had ordered lunch and was waiting for its arrival. I was surprised when the waiter brought the food as the portion of the food was large. In fact, the portion of the same food for the same price varied from country to country. In USA, it is lavish but in Europe it is of a smaller volume. In China and the Middle East, the portions are good but at times the tastes vary according to the local likings. As these thoughts flashed in my mind, I was in a real dilemma as I realized that even with my best efforts I may not be able to eat more than 50% of the food in front of me.
While in Kerala, I usually packed the leftovers for Bruno, my pet dog and thus he too very often had a taste of the high quality food I had, while traveling. But now Bruno was far away and I needed another option. Packing the remainder and saving it for dinner was one that came to mind. I did not want that. People seeking alms on the way side were very rare in those roads leading to the Parliament House – possibly because the “Nethas” or leaders fail to see these poor ones from their cars big and small in their rush to the parliament to take care of the poor masses of India.
I did not want to waste this food. I put it before the Lord … “Guide me Lord, show me a way” I prayed. “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat”… the words of my Master rang in my ears. Immediately I asked the waiter who was standing bewildered in front of me (minutes had passed since he brought me the food) to pack half of it. He said he would do that after the meal but I insisted that half of it should be packed right away before I touched the food. I did not want to carry the left overs as I had been doing for Bruno…. It was done. I took the parcel and began walking to the Hotel not knowing what had to be done with the parcel.
Suddenly, I saw a mother sitting on the footpath asking for alms. A child wrapped in a piece of cloth lay in front of her. Many were walking past her without even noticing her. Rarely someone threw a coin to her. Upon reaching her, I gave her the parcel. She looked up at me wondering what was inside it. “Khaana”, I told her in the little Hindi I knew and walked away.
But I noticed the glow in her eyes, and a wave of joy on her face as she heard that single word “Khaana” which in Hindi means food. I looked back after walking a few steps. She woke the child up and they were eating the meal of Delhi Darbar. It may not have filled them. But the joy on their faces remains one of the richest experiences I treasure in my memory lane. I made a decision at that very moment – to order a similar meal whenever I take a meal from hotels in my travels on road, and give it to the first one I see on my way, seeking alms. Sometimes I did not find anyone immediately, but would drive further, asking the Lord to show me someone in need.
And I have always found someone on the way, though it may be even after a few miles. As the monsoons began in Kerala, I thought I may not find someone seeking alms on the wayside due to rains. However, I made sure that I had the parcel with me and to my surprise the Lord showed me two, not one, on the wayside.
In the past eight months the Lord has been blessing this tiny effort of mine, more and more. Now Raaji, my beloved wife and co-worker in my endeavors for Him gives me a parcel whenever possible as I go out travelling. Some of my near and dear ones who have accompanied me in my journeys too have begun to share their meals. However the biggest surprise came from the members of the IDCFI, Bangalore led by Mr. Sunny Abraham. Once a week on a specific day they give their parcels to Mr. Sunny who takes and distributes it to the needy on the roadsides.
These lines come at the repeated requests of a few of my brethren who are a part of this effort and have started to share. In my experience I have rarely come across people who are so hardened at heart, to refuse to give something, sometime, somewhere for the less fortunate who are hungry. This is neither an organization nor a group and has no rules or regulations. I launch the ‘Share a Meal’ movement as a platform for anyone, anywhere who decides to spare something at any time for those are less fortunate than ourselves! Let us join hands and spread the message across to share a meal and share His love with the helpless, hapless and hungry ones around us. If you decide to be a part of this movement, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be praying for you.
Praise the Lord!