Daan Utsav, 2nd & 7th October, 2022. iVolunteer Delhi
How can you get a bunch of strangers coming from different walks of life to bond over food? Make them eat together? Cook food together? Distribute food to other strangers on the road? How about doing all three in a span of a couple of hours? Bonding was exactly what happened when these strangers met at the iVolunteer Delhi office for the Sewa Sandwich activity conducted as a part of Daan Utsav 2022.
I carried grated carrot (my mother’s contribution as proxy) and a loaf of bread I had excitedly bought from Mother Dairy earlier that morning. These ingredients were met with butter/jam/cucumber/salt & pepper to give rise to over 100 double bread sandwiches made with warmth by all of us volunteers. The volunteers on 2nd October, 2022 had managed to deliver chef-style sandwiches with their mayo and spread, we had been told by the convenors Akankasha and Shahnawaz (among others). But what we 7th October, 2022 volunteers lacked in resources, we compensated for, in our zeal. Even the weather seemed to bless the initiative as we sat in the spacious balcony to make the sandwiches on an otherwise hot Delhi noon. And later, the kilometre long trek along the busy hilly road of Sant Nagar, as we talked and walked while distributing the sandwiches, was literally a breeze. This proved providential especially considering the fact that Delhi experienced torrential downpour for days following 7th October.We exchanged ideas, laughs and life experiences all while assembling the
humble ingredients. It was ‘food for thought’, in its true spirit. Simultaneously, a few volunteers packed the sandwiches in recycled paper. With each tower of wrapped sandwiches that piled up inside the large cardboard boxes, ready for delivery, our smiles grew wider. Carrying these large boxes, with smiley stickers (symbolic of Daan Utsav) on our fingers, we started a happy journey to nowhere in particular. We stumbled upon hawkers, auto drivers, house helps, tempo unloaders, shop security guards, a Babaji sitting under a tree etc, all happily accepting the sandwich packets from us. Next, we distributed to the kids at Raen Basera, a Delhi government shelter area (consisting of mostly beggars) built adjacent to the busy Sant Nagar red light crossing. They greeted us with a smile,
patiently sat in a queue and the younger ones even said, “Thank you
didi/bhaiya”, which made the gesture even more warm and welcoming.
I reached home having gained new friends, more warmth in my heart and
lightness in my steps (thanks to all the walking). My only regret was not having made more sandwiches to give to the rickshaw wallas I encountered on my way back home. I really hope to go back and be a part of Sewa Sandwich again and feel impatient to wait till Daan Utsav 2023.
Contributed by Shreyasi Seth