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Mouth-watering Christmas feast from foreigners to beggars

Written by: Staff
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Varanasi, Nov 20 (UNI) Come Christmas and the countless beggars in this holy city will be in for an unprecedently mouth-watering feast on the banks of Ganga river -- their preferred haunt for begging alms.

A 40-strong menu spanning from 'Shahi Paneer' to 'Veg Chowmein' and 'batti chokha' to 'kesariya rasgoolla' will be served by foreign tourists on 'Bhoj Patras' (banana leaves) at the special Christmas day bash for the 'Daridra Narayan' on the Dashwashamedh Ghat.

''The bash is being organised for world peace and will see a large number of beggars being served gastronomical delights. The beggars will be formally inivited to the grand riverine lunch,'' said Kishori Raman Dubey 'Babu Maharaj', the president of Gangotri Seva Samiti (GSS) organising the X-mas feast.

The feast will be preceded by 'Ahuti' of 1600 mantras to Goddess Ganga early on Christmas morning with the sole aim of praying for world peace in the era of terrorism, he added.

Helping out Mr Dubey in this ambitious bash is Puja (orignally Miriam) -- his middle-aged associate from Netherlands.

''I have often heard that instead of being part of mainstream social bliss, the beggars are often served leftover of delicious cuisine served in marriages and other community functions. They too are humans and must be given the same treatment as other members of the society which is why the riverrine bash is being organised'' she maintained.

''We will soon start a fund raising exercise among the foreign tourists in the city, who generally keep themselves busy in taking snap-shots of impoverished India, best visualised by chains of beggars outside temples and mosques. Now they should shell something out of their pockets to at least provide one dream lunch to the unfortunate many,'' she added.

Interestingly Miriam, some years back quit a well-paying corporate professional job in Netherlands and instead embarked on an initiative to help orphan children. Now she stays three months every year in India, mostly in Varanasi, dabbling in Hindu religion and rituals and is a seminal part of the GSS which daily organises the Ganga Arti on the riverfront.

''It will not only be 'shahi paneer' and 'navratan korma', but also medicines which will be provided to those beggars who need them to fight the killer chill of December and January. Besides, destitutes will also be provided with blankets and warm clothes to draw home the immortal philosophy of Vasudhev Kutumbakam,'' she added.

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