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Give us this day our daily bread

At 12.30 each afternoon, the school bell rings. If it rang immediately a second time, we bet you wouldn't hear it. How could you when 350 children scream and screech in unison as if all hell's broken loose? You wonder where the fire is?

No, there's no fire. It's lunchtime and all roads lead to the dilapidated structure, which was once the first classroom of this school. The children gleefully line up, plates, tiffin boxes, tiffin-box lids or whatever in hand and eagerly await the arrival of the two huge, steaming pots. There's commotion, noise and much excitement as the serving process begins. One ladle of rice, and sambar (dhall) represents their frugal meal. Like Charles Dickens' Oliver, they can't ask for more.

Once every week, the noise decibels are at the highest. It's "Boiled Egg" day. However, this is a restricted item meant only for those whose names are on the government 'approved list'. That list has only 129 names and hence, only 129 eggs. If anyone is absent, it's some other child's luck day. But why this disparity, you might ask? The department of nutrition hasn't approved the revised list yet and till that happens, 129 children will get one boiled egg, once a week. Not all 350.

He'll always be remembered as a great actor for his swashbuckling style, his heroics and famous 'damsel in distress' rescue acts on celluloid. M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) is still revered by the masses. He was a good-hearted human being who genuinely cared for the poor. Political intentions aside, he was the chief architect of the mid-day meal scheme and none can ever take that credit away from MGR. However, were he alive today, he'd certainly initiate a debate on the quality of food being supplied.

It's a sad sight indeed to watch these kids line up in great anticipation to receive this concoction called food. But the fact is that for these kids, that one meal goes a long way.

Back to School
Country Road, Take Me Home...
The Panchayat Middle School
So near and yet, so very far
No Money, Honey
As dreams fade away...
Wannabe Doctor
The "Teacher's Colony"
Give us this day our daily bread...
The "Tuck Shop"
Murugan "The Messiah"
A Stitch in Time
Band of Brothers
MGR Nutritious Meal Scheme
Help us if you can
The Magic called "Moses"
Imagine All those People
The "School Needs" List

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