“Ma, are chole bhature ready?” I used to ask my mother as soon as I opened my eyes every year on 3rd December until I mastered the art of cooking.

“Ya, chole are ready and I will fry hot bhaturas for you after we all do hawan and you do charity.” This would be my mother’s reply as she was always been an early riser.

My mother’s response would always astir my celebration mood.

For every occasion my menu was fixed – chole bhature. Not only that but whenever I eat out my menu was already decided – chole bhature. I did not like to go in restaurants that did not serve chole bhature. Although I loved to try chole bhature in different restaurants from dhabas to luxurious hotels.

As my age increased, the size and quantity of bhaturas decreased on my plate. With God’s grace, the quantity of donation of chole bhature improved with each passing year.

According to Shrimad DeviBhagwat Mahapuran अन्नदानं महादानं (annadaanam mahadaanam) which means donating foodstuffs is the greatest charity and अन्नदानात्परं दानं न भूतं न भविष्यति। (aanadaanatperam daanm na bhutam n bhavesyate) There is no charity as grand as donation of foodstuffs, neither in the past nor in the future. Because of generous believer in these philosophies, I love to donate edible items as much as possible.

My daily charity includes feeding birds, squirrels and stray animals like cow, bull and dog. I collect my organic kitchen waste like vegetable peels, green leftovers, broccoli stalks and feed stray animals with them. On every weekend, I cook ladoos or halwa to feed stray dogs. It is pleasing as well as sometimes embarrassing that five or six stray dogs always escort me whenever I visit a local market. While travelling in car whenever I notice a group of monkeys, I feed them with fruits, roasted channa or any other edible item that I am carrying in my bag at that time. I feel it is our duty to feed them, as there are no fruiting trees left on the roadside and there is not much food for them in the fields.

I even love to feed different species with my hands. Surprisingly, I had fed biscuits to tree pie on my palm. I had fed baby nilgai with chapatti, rabbit with Armenian cucumber and langoor with roasted channa. I had also fed herbivorous animals like camel, horse, donkey, elephant, goat, sheep etc. It is my ardent wish to feed tiger on my palm. 😉

In the winter season, when there is ample of organic vegetables from farm, I prepare different types of pickles and then gladly distribute them among my employees. I love to prepare meals like puri, chole, halwa after completing any Sadhana especially Devi Sadhana and distribute them in my locality. Whenever I eat out in a restaurant, I always bear my driver’s meal expenses. I generously donate on various occasions in bhandaras in the temples so that the nutritious and delicious food reaches even to those who cannot afford it. On solar eclipse, Diwali, Makarsankranti or any other festival, I prefer to distribute fruits to janitors and sweepers.

Tula daan means charity equivalent to one’s weight. From my birth until today, my weight is measured and foodstuffs of equal weight are donated to needy person(s). The optimistic thing about this daan is that my weight is still on increasing trend. 😉

So today, is the day for feeding others with chole bhature. It is my humble request with everyone to celebrate 3rd December after my death as Chole Bhature Day! 😉

 

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Chandrika Shubham Saini

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