At a time when theatre groups are struggling to find work and grappling with loss of income, Thinai Nila Vaasigal, a theatre group in the city, goes all out to the rescue of homeless people from distributing food to giving a dignified burial during the pandemic.
Everyday, artists of this group gather at 7 a.m. to prepare meal for the homeless. M Bagu, a 28-year-old who runs the theatre group, says they set out by 12 p.m. and distribute food for nearly two hours. “We try to reach out to about 200-250 persons daily in various areas in the northern parts of the city, from homeless persons to relatives waiting outside hospitals. We pack lemon rice, puliotharai, sambar rice or vegetable biryani, usually along with a water bottle,” he says.
Post food distribution, when they get a call for burying unclaimed bodies, they immediately leave. In this pandemic, they have given a dignified burial for nearly 600 unclaimed bodies in the city. “We place a small garland and say a silent prayer before the burial,” he says.
At nights, they often step out to provide gloves, masks and a small box of snacks and sanitiser to the corporation workers too. “Without them, where will our city be? In some way or other we should be able to support them,” he adds.
Sometimes, they also give a haircut, clip the nails of the homeless persons and give them a pair of clothes too. While it is a constant struggle to find funds to continue providing food and for burial, they say, they somehow manage.
K Gopi Karunanidhi, another member of the group, says they perform street plays to spread awareness on a host of issues. “We have to be socially conscious and pitch in to make a difference in any small way to the society,” he says.
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