A Long but Satisying Day at Vishranti

August 15, 2008

A report by Meera Rammohan (August, 2008)

A glimse into what goes on at Vishranti
paatis at vishAll our grains arrive first at Vishranti—an old age home located in Palavakkam, just by the beach. Our association with the paatis (the elderly destitute women) and Savithri Vaithi, the founder, plus women like Ganapathi Ammal (the supervisor) and some like Chellama and Saroja who live there has been so warm and remarkable. The place has large open spaces, is peaceful, homely and run like clockwork by their wonderfully calm and efficient staff.

We have been going to Vishranti at least twice every week now. Typically, the paatis help us clean and sort the grains; at a glance some of them can tell us if they are of good quality, whether they are clean and fit for use; their nutritional aspects; recipes etc. They chat with us non-stop, and we enjoy each other’s company while we busy ourselves.

Ganapathi Ammal suddenly appears in the midst of all this bustle, with her upright bearing and quietly smiling face, bearing a jug of cooling buttermilk, making sure we refresh ourselves. We are also witness to other goings-on at the home—the paatis (some of them completely bent over but quite unfazed) passing by, taking out their clothes to dry, or singing their bhajans and chanting at mid-morning. Everyone who passes our processing area has something to share with us; wishes us well, asks after the bazaar and our welfare! At present we also do our packaging here (gasping in dismay at the leaky ones, sealing and resealing, weighing and pouring and so on and so forth). sajji at vish

We enjoy the chance for all the physical activity, the chance to get our hands dirty and feel a sense of accomplishment at it!

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