Rameswaram: At 70 where most are executing their retirement plans, this woman in Tamil Nadu with unmatchable grit is serving the poor.
Rani, runs an idli shop near Agni Tirtham in Rameswaram and serves free food to the needy.
Donning a bright smile on her face, she works relentlessly and earns her own livelihood. Where she provides poor for free, she charges a minimum amount from the rest of her customers.
Rani owns at a makeshift shop at Rameswaram’s Agni Thirtham seashore and uses the traditional wooden stove to prepares the food. Assisted by a temporary labourer, she works throughout the year to serve idli at the cost Rs 30 in a city where, the residents say, a plate of idli costs at least Rs 60.
Speaking to ANI amid customers thronging her shop on a Sunday morning, Rani said people come to her shop only because she showers love on them and considers all as family.
“I do not have a proper shop what I have a temporary makeshift arrangement. People come to me only because of the love I shower on them. I never treat them as my customers rather I consider them as a member of my family,” she said and added: “Although I am old, I earn my livelihood.”
Rani said she still uses the traditional wooden stove to prepare her food because it is “economical”.
Rakku, who works at her idli shop, said the shop provides temporary employment to her. “I hail from a fisherman family. When we do not go to fishing, I work here,” she told ANI.
She said that Rani does not insist on money if anyone is not able to pay for the food. “So many people are our daily customers. We do not insist on the money. Even if anyone does not have money, you serve them the food and do not insist for payment,” Rakku said.
Rani’s roadside shop is famous amongst the locals and tourists alike.
“In Rameswaram, If you visit any hotel and have food, it will cost you at least Rs 60 but this shop offers food in just Rs 30. The most important thing is even on this age she works and maintains the old methods to prepare the food,” Nagendran, a customer, told ANI.