There is not a single person at Beach Hospital, Kozhikode who is not familiar with the name Paulose Chettan. For, he has been serving free ‘kanji’ (rice porridge) to the underprivileged patients of the hospital for over the past 15 years.
Born and brought up at Nadakkavu in Kozhikode, M V Paulose is an active member of the Vincent De Paul Society, which is supporting his initiative. A simpleton with a charming face, who travels around in his bicycle, Paulose has never put a halt to this noble deed in spite of being 86 years old.
His day starts by 8.30 am at the Palayam market. After buying the products needed to prepare the food, he reaches the cooking unit situated at Amalapuri church after an hour. By 4 pm, he arrives at the hospital with the prepared food, along with his driver. Around 200 patients can be seen eagerly waiting for the ‘kanji.’ The number goes up during the rainy season. Paulose Chettan goes around every ward to ensure that every single person has received the food.
“I consider the uninterrupted progress of the service as a touch of divine inspiration,” says Paulose, who started the project along with the late Chandy Joseph. “After two years, Joseph had to leave Kozhikode due to personal reasons. But, I continued with it. One who has experienced the pain of the poor cannot allow this endeavour to stop at any cause,’’ he says.
Paulose started to devoted his entire time for social service after returning from Saudi Arabia. Things were not smooth and easy during the initial phase of preparation. “Every second Sunday I collect money from the devotees who turn up at St Thomas Church, Amalapuri. Along with that I visit individuals personally, to seek help. The collected amount ranges from `30,000 to `40,000 per month,’’ he says.
There has not been any day when there was shortage of money or food. “Every time it was in plenty. I thank God Almighty for showering his blessings in every stage of the project. Besides, my family members are equally enthusiastic about leading this project ahead and at times my wife and children accompany me while distributing food,” says Paulose.
Old age and illness have never stopped him from doing his work of climbing three floors every day and distributing food. Paulose had been hospitalised a number of times due to heart attacks and strokes. “When Paulose was in the ICU, his only concern was whether the food was being supplied smoothly or not. He does not listen to me in spite of my strong warning not to go to the hospital during his illness,” says Dr Ajith Kumar of Nirmala Hospital, who has been treating him for the past 12 years.
“He can never sit idle; he is always on his toes. He likes to do everything independently. Regardless of all the restrictions, he continues with his work.” says his wife Mary Paulose, who at times get worked up about his carefree attitude about his health.
“We have experienced God’s tender touch of love and care through the hands of Paulose Chettan,” says Ambika, a patient. Babu, another asthmatic patient, says: “The food provided here is very good. It is homemade and healthy. Paulose Chettan is a true saint”.