THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In February, techie Renjith Rajagopal and his whole family - comprising his mother, father, wife and child -- tested positive for Covid-19. With his father being a heart patient and his wife seven months pregnant, it was a taxing time for the whole family. “We were admitted to hospital. But once we came home, all of us were mentally and physically drained to even consider preparing our own food,” says Renjith. And that’s when he sought the help of Krishna, a home chef. “We could customise our food and they served us protein-rich food. For Covid positive patients, at a time of stigma, such a service is very helpful,” says Renjith. Yoga trainer Jyothish Madhavan echoes the sentiment.
“My whole family tested positive and we were in quarantine at home. Many restaurants were unwilling to deliver food as we were Covid positive. The home chef service helped us a great deal,” says Jyothish. A group of home chefs is making it a point to ensure that no Covid patient has to face any kind of discrimination. They are delivering fresh, homely meals to the patients. Krishna Renjith, of ‘Ruchikoot by Krishna Renjith’, started giving food to Covid patients after the onset of the second wave. “It started when my customers tested Covid positive,” says Krishna.
“They asked if I could deliver them food. In these times, they are the ones deeply affected as they are left with no option. They also have to face a lot of stigma. In most cases, the whole family is affected and they get stranded at home with no supplies, when they should be getting nutritious food.” The elderly are the most affected as they are often left with no contact, she says.
“I try my best to cater to all queries. And in regions that I am unable to cater to, I share the contact of home chefs there,” says Krishna who prepares food alongside her sister Reshmi Babu. Along with delivering the orders, a bevy of home chefs are making it a priority to focus on Covid patients as well. For instance, 20-yearold Zahiba Sameer, probably the youngest home chef in the city, ensures that she sends little notes with her packed meals, to keep the spirit of the patients up.
“I send handwritten notes to everyone to make their day and make them feel optimistic. Covid patients feel very anxious most of the time. So we send handwritten notes with a drawings too,” says Zahiba who returned from Australia last year. Having got stuck in Kerala because of the pandemic, she resorted to cooking and launched her own food label ‘Soul Foods Trivandrum’. “It’s important that patients get fresh, nutritious and homecooked food.
All Covid norms are followed and I ensure that patients are served quality food. We are all simply doing our bit and helping people in a small way,” adds Zahiba. In times of pandemic, all that home chefs can aspire to do is help those in need, says Helen, of Helen’s Kitchen. “This is one way of helping people. We had started it last year when a family living nearby tested positive. Then others started asking if we could deliver food to them too. And that’s how it all began,” she says.