The child they saw wanted ‘gol gappas’, the vendor had barely made any money with people preferring to eat at ‘langars’ so fireman Surender Kamboj and his friends decided on a Christmas win-win for all — they bought up the entire stock and distributed it free to those protesting at the Singhu border.
The pop-up ‘gol gappa langar’ was a delectable festive treat for the young boy who didn’t have money and also the ‘chaat seller’ who had earned only Rs 500 in three days, barely enough for survival.
Sure enough, the good deed of the group of seven firemen from the Rania fire station in Sirsa was a hit and the cartload of ‘gol gappas’ was over in half-an-hour.
What prompted Mr Kamboj and his friends to start the novel ‘langar’ was seeing a child loitering near a stall selling ‘gol gappas’. Mr Kamboj said he could not help but ask the child what he wanted.
” ‘Gol gappa’, said the boy who did not have any money,” recounted the 33-year-old. The spontaneous actions of the firemen amazed the child and the farmers nearby.
“The ‘gol gappa’ seller had not earned anything as people have been eating at ‘langars’ (community kitchen). He could sell his stock and we got a chance to do ‘sewa’ (service). It was a win-win situation for everybody,” said Ravindra Kumar, Mr Kamboj’s colleague.
It was a Christmas miracle for Mohammad Salim, the ‘gol gappa’ seller, who said Mr Kamboj gave him Rs 1,000 which was more than what he expected.
He had earned just Rs 500 in the last three days.
“Everything is available for free at the ‘langar’. Anything you can think of. Initially, I did not set up the stall thinking the protest would end in a few days. But it continued and I had to come out with my cart of ‘gol gappas’. I could not have stayed home forever,” said the 26-year-old resident of Kundli village.
The firemen said they had come to Singhu, where thousands of farmers have been sitting for a month to demand a rollback of the three farm laws, to support the protest.
“We are a team of 21 personnel at the Rania fire station. We have decided to come to the Singhu border in three batches,” Kumar said.
“People have been donating lots of money and ration. What we have done is nothing compared to that,” he added.
Kumar said they asked Salim what would be right price for his entire stock. “He said Rs 800 will be fine. We gave him Rs 1,000.”
The fire service personnel said they had permission from the head of the station to participate in the protest. A new batch will come every three days, they said.
“All of us own agricultural land in our villages. All of us are farmers,” said Davinder Singh, another fireman. “Fire service is a responsible profession. But fighting for the rights of farmer community is a responsibility, too,” Mr Kamboj added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)