Bhalukpong is a small, quiet town, located in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district but the community service which a group of ten women provided is making headlines all over.
A few women, as early as April , got together, pooling in whatever money they could and started cooking meals, lunch, for frontline workers. The lockdown meant that schools were closed or they moved their ‘kitchen’ into one of the classes and started cooking. These women were homemakers, nurses, teachers and they put on their masks, rolled up their sleeves, and got to work. On day one, it was a meal for 70, but only 35 showed up. But then slowly, as word got around, the numbers doubled.
The objective of the ‘Bhalukpong Women’s Langar’ — as it came to be known, was simple - feed the frontline worker, be it a doctor, a nurse, a policeman or even a daily wage labourer. A free meal for anyone who needed it.
The lockdown made sourcing of vegetables really tough – a part of the group used to drive down 10 kms to another town, buy vegetables from local farmers, and rush back to cook. People around also started donating cooking material and it soon became a go-to place for a good meal for anyone who needed it.
But with cases now spiking up, the community members advised the women to temporarily shut their kitchen till things settled down. Its closed now but the women, who were so motivated and inspired to just be able to feed so many people are listless and hope their kitchen starts soon. In the meantime, they discuss menus and improvements as and when they start cooking again.