On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of people appeared at Saneer Shereef’s doorstep at Alleppey, 53 km from Kochi in Kerala. It is a small maroon-coloured house with a verse from the Quran pasted just above its entrance.
Soon, they gave Rs 13,600 to Saneer’s mother, Laila. These do-gooders are the members of the Alleppey Bullet Club (ABC).
Laila is suffering from an advanced stage of throat cancer, and has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, Saneer, who works as a labourer, is unable to meet the cost of her treatment.
“When we help people, whatever religion they belong to, we get blessings from god,” says club member Vishnu Vijayan. K Priyan, 44, president of the club that was formed in October 2015, says: “We began as a Facebook group and then decided to form the ABC.”
The group of 160 members comprises engineers, police officers, students, government employees, Christian priest FatherBenzi Sebastian Kandanat, Hindu priest Santosh Kumar and a couple of women, all from various towns of Alleppey district.
The biggest joy for them is to do charity. “This idea of helping others occurred to us, as most of us are well-off,” says club secretary Rajeev Karthikeyan.
One day, they went to a government-run home for physically challenged boys and gave them an irresistible offer that they could eat anything they wanted.
The boys ate egg curry and appam (pancake made from fermented rice batter) for breakfast. For lunch they had biryani, while paranthas and beef fry was the menu for dinner.
“Their joy gave us happiness that no ride has ever given us,” says Priyan.
The other day, while they were travelling, they saw a ramshackle house, where a woman lived with her four children, at Mannancherry. Their father had abandoned the family. The children—a boy and three girls, aged between eight and 12—did not have the money to pay their school fees. Their mother earns a bit through scavenging.
So, the club collected money and bought them textbooks, exercise books, uniforms, tiffins, shoes, raincoats and umbrellas. “We also gave them a cheque of Rs 25,000,” says Rajeev. “But, their mother told us not to give money regularly. Otherwise, the family would become lazy.”
Group treasurer Abhin Kumar says, “With the help of sponsors, we want to instal a refrigerator by the side of a busy road in Alleppey, where people can store their extra food. And any poor person can open it anytime to have food.”