BENGALURU: While many start to hit the sack at 11.30pm is when Saddam Baig jumps into action. Since Ramadan began, the advocate has been volunteering to distribute food for sehri (a meal consumed early in the morning before Muslims begin fasting during the holy month) to over 500 people in Padarayanapura.
A resident of the area himself, Baig says, “There are many slums around and the daily wage workers are struggling to get food these days. Baig took part in this initiative last year too, but then, there were more groups catering to different areas of the city such as Koramangala and RT Nagar as well. Not wanting to give up the good deed this year, the 28-year-old decided to take it up again. The initiative has been started by Aayina Trust, a charitable organisation, but includes volunteers both from the trust and outside. Every day, the team has been packing food for those in need, with funds coming from their own pockets and through donations.
“We’ve had many people show their goodwill at this time. For example, our cooking team has three people, wherein the main chef takes only Rs 1,000 per day to prepare 100kg of rice, one type of chakna and one gravy,” says Baig, who is a trustee of Aayina Trust. Once the food is prepared by 11.30pm, the team gets to work with packing it and then heads out to distribute the meals at 3am, without catching a wink of sleep in between.
“I don’t sleep before because I know there are people depending on us. One day, we were 10-15 minutes late but when we reached, some of the families were waiting and they had tears in their eyes. They thought they wouldn’t be able to get a meal that day,” recalls Baig, adding that the team only sits down for their own sehri after the distribution to others in need is done. “I sleep less these days but it’s peaceful slumber. And helping others gives me energy to deal with the fatigue,” he adds.
Irfan Ahamad Z, who is the chairman of the trust, says they don’t want to keep the initiative limited to just Ramzan. “If the lockdown continues, we want to help during that time as well,” he says.
Baig adds, “So far, we haven’t faced any trouble despite the restrictions in place. Even the police personnel in our area are aware of our work and don’t mind us stepping out for it. We divide ourselves into teams of two and make sure not to disturb anyone.”