Giving, without hurting
There are many concepts that have evolved (and disappeared!) over years. One of them is the ‘Varanna’ concept. This practice was very popular in old Mysore city. There were many youngsters, mostly boys who came from the surrounding villages after their middle school or high school to Mysore for further studies.
Many of them were from lower middle class or poor families. They could not afford to rent a room or stay in paid hostels. Many of the families in Mysore used to feed such boys one day in a week on rotation basis, irrespective of their caste. This was called ‘Varanna’ - meaning weekly meal.
The boys went for their meals to different houses in this way and lived in small rooms or under stair cases of some houses, free of cost. The families took care of the boys with love. The boys too did not hesitate to lead simple lives as students. The whole idea was looked upon as a noble concept to educate the youth.
Many boys went on to become great professionals in their later lives. But they always remembered with gratitude and love the service that those unknown families rendered during their student days.
There is one more practice, which is followed by many families even today. Every day, a woman member of the family keeps aside one handful of rice in a separate bag and at the end of every month or once in two months the rice thus collected is given away as dhaan – charity - to some needy family.
Feeding one mouth extra in a week or setting aside just one handful of rice every day really does not pinch the giver but matters a lot to the receiver! How nice it would be if every well-to-do person follows such simple practices! There will be nobody who will sleep hungry, that way!