While scrolling down through Facebook, I stumbled upon a post on ‘Tribal Lunch’ by one of my friend made me stop and click on the link to read more about it. I shared the link with some of my friends to plan it out. Finally, after a week or two, we randomly thought of going for this lunch, however we were not aware of the fact that one needs to register at least a week prior and also it doesn’t happen every Sunday. We called up on the number mentioned in the blog and spoke to Mrs. Cassandra, she said that all the seats are booked and that we have to wait for the next scheduled slot. Since we had everything planned, we requested her for accommodating us and she was very kind to do so on condition of us to strictly punctual. We thanked her for being so kind and promised her to reach on time. She instructed us the way and shared the location with us.
We skipped our breakfast and rushed, as we were running a bit late. It was almost quarter to one and we were all famished, Mrs. Cassandra had mentioned it to us that after reaching the railway station (not actual but makeshift set for movies), look for two kiddies near the stable, who will be guiding us to the location. The kids were of 5-6 years old, a boy named Manoj guided us to the village and we followed him obediently, he took a bit of pride in that with a naughty smirk on his face. It was 4-5 mins away from where we had parked our car. As we reached, we saw that the women were busy cooking meal while the men were playing cricket and the kids were volunteering around for any kind of assistance.
Actually, the NGO WWH Charitable Foundation organizes the tribal lunch event along with organic flea market and a number of other activities so that they can help such villages by funding them for their upliftment. They ask the visitors to donate clothes, bicycles etc. and fund if possible to put street lights and provide nutritious food to the children. To make sure that the children are following a hygienic lifestyle, Mrs. Cassandra visits the village once in every week to monitor and gives every child a boiled egg to eat as a reward. She also mentioned that she would be happy if anyone would like to sponsor and participate in the program at least for a week, the cost for the same would be INR500.
While Eugene asked us to talk a walk around the village, he also told us that there is a lady who had fought with a leopard. Due to lack of electricity and street lights, there has been a number of instances when wild animals have entered the village. We walked around and saw the flea market where ladies were selling organically grown fruits and vegetables along with handicrafts. On one corner the kids were taking care of coupons and selling Kokam sherbets. Eugene gave us our coupons and they we had a glass of refreshing Kokam. In the next house, a painting workshop was going on, we went and took a sneak-peak.
The meal was served and it was a buffet of Fried fish, stuffed brinjal, rice bhakri, ragi roti and lasoon (garlic) chutney, cucumber salad, rice, beans sabji, aloo dal, chicken curry, sukha zinga (dry prawns) and rice kheer. The food was simply delicious and was farm fresh. We helped ourselves with more than two servings and were so full by the end.
Post lunch, I saw few girls had put mehndi so I rushed and sat for my turn, while my friends picked some vegetables. Before leaving, Mrs. Cassandra and Eugene narrated us about how they started the event and how this entire thing helps the villagers while we sipped on some organic tea
If you want to be a part of this tribal experience, please visit We Will Help (WWH) Charitable Foundation (Link), an NGO, has been working with the tribal women residing in Aarey Milk Colony to organise ‘Tribal Sit Down Lunch Experience’.
WWH hopes to create awareness about the tribal culture and to remind us about the importance of Aarey, which people who want ‘development’ are ignoring.
The meal costs INR 300 for adults and INR 250 for children below 12 years.
P.S. Call on the contact no. given below before you make your plan.
Where: Khambacha Pada, Unit 25, Aarey Milk Colony, Shivaji Nagar, Goregaon (East). Telephone: 98202 24450