10 rupees hotel: A beacon of community spirit in Perumbakkam | Fusion - WeRIndia

10 rupees hotel: A beacon of community spirit in Perumbakkam

10 rupees hotel: A beacon of community spirit in Perumbakkam

In the heart of Perumbakkam village, the simple yet comforting aroma of a midday meal wafts through the air.

Each day, this humble canteen serves rice, sambar, vegetables, and buttermilk to around 80 residents. 

The joy and satisfaction in their eyes speak volumes about the impact of this initiative.

For the past decade, S Elumalai has run what the villagers affectionately call it, the 10 Rupees Hotel. 

Elumalai, a manager at Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, started this canteen in 2014, initially providing free lunches. Recently, he began charging a nominal ₹10 per meal.

Elumalai’s commitment to feeding the hungry is inspired by 19th-century saint and social reformer Vallalar. 

Between 2004 and 2014, he provided free food at temples and homes, laying the foundation for this broader initiative. 

His dedication stems from Vallalar’s teachings on compassion and charity.

Reflecting on his own experiences with hunger and poverty, Elumalai opened the canteen to offer nutritious lunches to those in need. 

He believes that feeding another hungry person is the greatest deed one can perform. 

The canteen operates daily from noon for two to three hours, with a team of 15 relatives ensuring high-quality meal preparation.

Ingredients are often sourced locally, supporting nearby farmers and vendors. 

This act of kindness has not only provided sustenance but also fostered a sense of community among the villagers. 

Initially, the canteen used paddy from Elumalai’s own land. However, due to poor yields, he now buys rice, which has increased operational costs from ₹30,000 in 2014 to nearly ₹1 lakh.

Despite the financial burden, Elumalai remains dedicated to his mission. Funding comes from his personal finances, occasional contributions from well-wishers, and support from his family. 

He contrasts his selfless service with that of “fake godmen” who hoard wealth. 

To support his team, he pays them ₹150 per day, leading to a nominal charge of ₹10 per plate.

The canteen has evolved into a community hub where residents from diverse backgrounds share stories and build relationships. Elumalai’s efforts have earned him deep respect and admiration. 

Many residents remark that Elumalai’s unwavering commitment to selfless service is an inspiring example of the impact one person can make.

Elumalai’s dedication continues to embody the principles of Vallalar, reinforcing the power of individual effort in community service. His work serves as a beacon of hope and solidarity in Perumbakkam.

Image Credit: Keka De, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Image Reference: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunch_with_Rice_and_Dal_and_Vegetables.jpg

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