COIMBATORE: After 30 years of running a very modest but enormously beloved idli service, 80-year-old Kamalathal of Vadivelampalayam finally has some help. As many as three companies have come forward to provide her LPG cylinders and a stove, just to make it easier for her to continue her service of providing an affordable breakfast to those in need.
For the past three decades, Kamalathal has relied on wooden logs and fire to cook the idlies that she sells for Rs 1. While there are many takers for her affordable idlies, daily-wage labourers in and around Vadivelampalayam were the most grateful for the service. Despite the 30 years of service, it was recently that she gained widespread recognition after several media organisations (including TNIE) covered her work.
And soon enough, help and appreciation began pouring in. Chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra, took to Twitter to announce that he would be happy to ‘invest’ in her business and buy her an LPG fuelled stove. He even went on to say that he can ensure a continuous supply of LPG cylinders with the help of his staff in the region. This was on Tuesday.
The next day, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan intervened and directed oil marketing companies (OMC) in the region to help the woman. Soon enough, she had representatives from Indane Gas knocking on her door with a stove and cylinder. HP and Bharat Gas followed, with the same offer. On Thursday, Kamalathal has started using the brand new stove to make her trademark idlies.
After all the work, Dharmendra tweeted that he was glad to have been of help to Kamalathal and suggested that the society should empower such hard-working people who defy all odds. Besides the upgrade on the cooking apparatus, a corporate company has also provided Kamalathal with a wet grinder (she had been using the traditional ammi kal). The Rotary Club has handed over some new utensils to Kamalathal.
On Monday, she was invited to the collectorate and honoured by Collector K Rajamani. On his part, he gave her sheets of cloth that she uses to cook the idlies. Given that she resides in a small, shabby house, the Collector is arranging for her a house under the government’s housing scheme.
Such an overwhelming response to her work has come as great encouragement, Kamalathal gushes. “With the wood fire, making one round of idlies needs 20-30 minutes. Now, the LPG connection has brought it down to 10-15 minutes. Also, I do not need to spare time for getting wooden logs,” she says.