Kerala daily wager's Rs 100-note in food packet for flood-hit Chellanam wins plaudits
"We've been seeing and hearing about the plight of the people living in Chellanam, which is the neighbouring panchayat," said Mary, who lost her job with a catering unit following the COVID pandemic.
KOCHI: Kerala is truly God's Own Country. This truism is being reinforced again and again by the people who live in this beautiful land.
Whenever a calamity or pandemic strikes, Keralites have come together and contributed their bit towards alleviating the hardships their brethren face.
One such person who tried to do her bit is Mary Sebastian of Velamparambil House at Kumbalangi.
Mary, who is a daily wager, hid a Rs 100 note in a food packet collected by Kudumbasree for the flood- and COVID-hit distressed people of Chellanam. The story has now gone viral.
"We have been seeing and hearing about the plight of the people living in Chellanam, which is the neighbouring panchayat," said Mary, who lost her job with a catering unit following the pandemic.
Chellanam was not only battling sea erosion but also COVID, she said. "The people there had no means to earn a livelihood since they could neither go out into the sea nor to the city where they had jobs as daily wage earners due to the angry seas and lockdown," said Mary.
She felt very distressed and wanted to be of some help.
"I told my son that we are lucky to be living in an area that has been not battered by these troubles," she said.
It was during this time that the local self-government body officials under the aegis of Kudumbasree were collecting food packets from each ward of the panchayat.
"Every house in each ward had to give one food packet each," she said.
"So, when I packed the lunch comprising rice, cowpea thoran and prawns along with another curry, I hid a Rs 100 note in the packet," Mary explained.
Around 225 food packets were collected from ward number one of Kumbalangi panchayat.
According to her son CT Sebin, she felt the money might help the person who gets the packet buy some essentials like tea, sugar or milk.
"My mother had lost her job at the caterers and was doing odd jobs as an MNREGA worker. The Rs 100 came out of the wage she received after the last MNREGA job she had done," he said.
The family members had notified their ward members about the money. "We wanted to know the name of the person who gets the packet," said Mary.
However, the surprise got revealed in a manner unforeseen by Mary, when the food packet was opened by the police personnel, who had been asked to ensure the quality of the food.
"The Circle Inspector (CI) who found the money posted his find on Facebook and lauded the effort of the person behind the good deed," said Sebin.
The authorities found out that the food packet belonged to Mary and decided to honour her deed. "The CI and other authorities arrived at our house and honoured my mother with a memento," said Sebin.