KOCHI: It takes a very kind heart to be there for others even while you’re not at your best. OA Nazar’s quaint little tea shop on Ashoka Road near Kaloor lives by this simple rule for a fulfilling life — help others as much as you can. The 56-year-old who runs the shop with his brother OA Shamsudheen has been providing free meals for 10 underprivileged visitors daily for the past few months.
The hotel is open from 6am to 3pm. Though they were shut in the first few months of lockdown, they have been keeping the free service open with help from sponsors. “Our sponsors provide us the money a week in advance. Even if we didn’t get a sponsor to support us on a particular day, we will do it on our own. We never considered it as an additional burden. Even after meeting daily expenses, we manage to give away free lunches. Now, many people are coming forward to support us,” Nazar said.
The restaurant has been up and running since 1984. Earlier, their father owned a small stationery shop in the area. Quite the kind-hearted man, his shop faced a major loss since most of the revenue was used to help others. Nevertheless, his sons haven’t stopped giving back to the community. “We started this restaurant after our father passed away. Even now, it is the path he showed that we are following,” he said.
A meal would cost you `40. “Earlier, it was `35. After the pandemic, we were forced to hike the prices a little. But even then, we ensure it is affordable,” says Nazar.Their regular guests include autorickshaw drivers who struggle for a day’s meal. However, the shop doesn’t provide food packets to prevent resale. Apart from this, the siblings are also supporting bed-ridden patients in the city for their treatment.
They have managed all this amidst many misfortunes in the last two months, including Shamsudheen getting infected with Covid. “The restaurant and blessings of those who have helped got us through all of it,” says Nazar. Now, the siblings are aiming to make facilities at the restaurants better, so they can help more people. “Why stop at 10 free meals?” he asks.