A group of people in West Bengal's Nadia district were in for a pleasant surprise today when they responded to the invitation of a local club to attend a Bhai Phonta (Bhaiya Duj) celebration.
The local women who lined up in front of them to wish good luck and prayed for their well being, heaped them with something beyond their imagination - apart from the usual new clothes and sweets, there was onion, ginger, edible oil and potato - items whose prices have skyrocketed.
Members of August 18 Committee had arranged for Bhai Phonta celebrations in the Shibnibash locality of Krishnaganj in the district and had invited 21 poor people.
"There are so many poor people for whom Bhai Phonta celebrations are a dream. So, we selected 21 poor residents and decided to gift them potato, onions, ginger, clothes, sweets etc, which they cannot afford. We even gave chicken to some of them. It is also our way of protesting against the present scenario in the retail markets and spiralling prices," Anjan Sukul, secretary of the club said.
Fifty-year-old Narayan Das, who lives off begging at the Shibnibash temple and stays at a makeshift arrangement close by with his ailing wife said, "This is something beyond our wildest dreams. We can't afford many vegetables, specially onion these days. Food in the next couple of days will be really good."
Kanchan Das, Nirmal Biswas, Basanti Sarkar were elated after handing over the gifts to their 'brothers'.
"It was very nice to make a stranger my brother and the sheer joy on their faces after receiving the gifts was wonderful," Basanti said.
"We wanted to provide them with some good moments amid their unending curse of poverty and other problems, clubbed with price rise," Sukul added.