A unique kitchen in Jaipur, Bejubano Ki Rasoi, is feeding freshly cooked meals to countless stray dogs at just Rs 5. Jaipur-based Gajraj Singh Kachhawa leads the initiative.
Gajraj Singh Kachhawa, a Jaipur local, sat at a tea vendor on a cold winter morning, sipping hot sweet tea. As he was about to depart, a man approached the vendor, bought a packet of biscuits, and fed a street dog.
Gajraj stood by and observed this. He approached the man and inquired as to why he was feeding the dog biscuits high in sugar and wheat, both of which are harmful to canines. Gajraj even advised the man to give the dog milk or, better yet, curd. “The only thing I’ll get for Rs 5 is this packet of biscuits,” the man said as he walked away.
This idea stayed with Gajraj, who went on to start Bejubano Ki Rasoi (Kitchen For The Voiceless), where a pre-packaged nutritious meal for a dog costs only Rs 5.
“I’ve been feeding dogs on my own for almost five years now,” Gajraj explains.
When the lockdown was implemented, there were a large number of people who were delivering food for others. The street dogs, on the other hand, suffered the most. No one wanted to feed or even care for them. That’s when I decided to make a deliberate effort to feed the dogs.”
Gajraj explains, “With the lockdown, none of these smaller establishments were operational, which meant no food for the dogs. During this time, I was frequently feeding over 600 dogs.”
The 27-year-old entrepreneur and digital marketer owns a club in Jaipur where Bejubano Ki Rasoi operates. Because the club is only open in the evenings, Gajraj could use the kitchen during the day to produce these healthy dishes and he didn’t even have to make any further investments.
Once the meals are made and packaged, they are sold at a booth near Jaipur’s Vivek Vihar metro station.
Each 400 gm precooked meal contains paneer, soybean, rice, and eggs, as well as multivitamin pills for dogs. While there are packaged foods available for dogs, Gajraj claims that the majority of them dehydrate the dogs. Gajraj now has many regular clientele who use his food to feed their dogs.
“Most of them tell us how much their pets seemed to like this freshly cooked meal of Bejubano Ki Rasoi” he says.
Gajraj did not want to charge for the food when he launched this effort. However, he claims that his buddies persuaded him to charge a minimal fee. “My friends told me to charge for the food if I want others to value it. The biscuit incident prompted me to charge Rs 5.”
Gajraj estimates that each meal package costs around Rs 15 to prepare.
The price varies according to the cost of vegetables. “But, I will charge only Rs. 5 for the food from Bejubano Ki Rasoi.” The food packs were supplied for free throughout the lockdown. The goal was to feed as many dogs as possible.”
According to Gajraj, the objective for Bejubano Ki Rasoi is to build five more kiosks across Jaipur in order to feed a minimum of 3,000 canines each day. “While the dogs typically eat whatever they are given,” says Priyanka Sharma, a Jaipur resident who has been feeding stray dogs for a while, “I witnessed the difference when I fed them one of the packets I got from Bejubano Ki Rasoi. It was wiped clean within seconds of being placed in front of them.”
Priyanka has purchased more than 60 packets from Gajraj and says she cannot suggest it highly enough to anyone who stops to feed dogs on the street.
So, the next time you reach for a sugary biscuit or a dog treat, pause and reflect. A balanced supper rich in proteins and carbohydrates may help keep the dog healthy.