Maitri Meals - Meals for Friendship
A Maitri Meal as the name suggests is meal for friendship, a meal which not only connects friends but connects the cook with the one who is enjoying it. This friendship is not an ordinary friendship, in Maitri you connect with those beautiful souls whose beauty has always been hidden. These women spend their life in just nurturing their outer beauty, they never get a chance to really feel how beautiful their heart is. But with every box of Maitri Meals, these women are getting that chance to connect with themselves, they are trusting themselves. Now they don’t say that they are born to sell their bodies or serve men rather they confidently say; “I cook really well, I cook with love, have one meal and you will get a glimpse of my love in it.”
And this is the dream of Maitri Meals. It started with a simple dream to offer life choices to women who are sold in the brothels in Delhi’s red light district to show their bodies, and get money for that.
For Kat-Katha they are our didis and their children are our friends be it a new born or an adult. They have accepted Kat-Katha as their family and that is the reason when we shared with our didis about a startup, they showed interest. Though in the beginning, they had inhibitions, and those were not about our capability to run the project rather they doubted if someone would ever buy a meal made by a sex worker. Initially our plan was to have a food cart with the name called Chatori Zubaan, where the idea was that it will be run by our didis and it will be a special cart which will not only sell snacks rather it will be a point for people to come and not only enjoy the food but really enjoy being there. Imagine standing on a cart which is handled by mothers, the mothers who are putting all the love in each pani puri you are having. The women who are in love with the food they are serving. But due to some technical issues we had to drop the idea of having a cart.
But as we always believe that universe is keeping an eye on Kat-Katha and its different dreams and from somewhere we got out first small funding for this idea of making our didis as entrepreneurs. This happened in less than 24 hours and we told ourselves that we need to keep the fears aside and just go with a flow. As a result we started with a pilot kitchen where our didis went through a training to make food and on 13th August, we launched our dream project, our very own Maitri Meals and on the very first day we were able to sell 60 boxes.
Not just this, on the second day we invited around 50 children for a lunch and the children demanded for Tofu and sweet dish and Indian bread called poori, and one more vegetable to add the twist to the lunch. The day was super awesome, the children had fun and our didis put all their love in making the food and at the end of the day we realised that we were flooded with the blessings of little ones.
From Day 3, our didis took control and today after 2 months, they are not only cooking rather they keep the kitchen like their own — spic and span, they go to market and choose the best, and now they are also going to deliver though in the beginning they told us clearly that they will never deliver the boxes.
With every passing day something is shifting inside our didis. Now they no more talk about their pain rather they share how grateful they are for every thing. They sit in circle, they pray before starting their kitchen and most importantly pray before having their meal. They have a mentor who comes to spend time on their academics. Now they happily agree to go with us even outside of GB Road, they have learnt the language to deal with their owners.
Maitri Meal’s only purpose is to tell the world that love can be shared with anyone and in any form. It is us who have to open our heart and accept the other person.
Every day I wonder why we judge people because of the surroundings they live in? Why do we judge people because of their profession? Why cant we accept that a sex worker is also a mother and can be a chef and if given a chance can be a great entrepreneur.
“If you judge people you have no time to love them.” - Mother Teresa