Students of NIT Trichy devour home-cooked delicacies on campus

Studying in an engineering institute comes with its share of perks and quirks. Once students start living on campus, what they very often miss is the ‘maa ke haath ka khana’. The comfort of having simple home cooked food becomes rare. This is precisely what students of NIT Trichy (NITT) went through, but not anymore. From the current academic year, they have stalls on campus which provide home-cooked food.

NITT has put up stalls outside various academic buildings, where local women from Trichy come and sell snacks. The women cook snacks at home, and bring it to campus for sale. They come in around 11 a.m. and pack-up when stocks last. These include snacks like wada, idli, upma, and also sometimes small bites like banana or potato wafers. This is a treat for students because they find the wafers tastier and crispier, though equally unhealthy, than branded chips. This idea was a part of the Women Entrepreneurs’ Association of Tamil Nadu (WEAT) as an effort to empower women from lower economic backgrounds in Trichy. These stalls provide a sustainable employment option for the women. “What could be better than an institute which understands the student’s craving for home cooked food, and fulfils it,” says Rajat S, a fourth-year student of NIT Trichy.

The quality and hygiene at the stalls are also well maintained. “Regular quality checks of the food are conducted by WEAT. In fact, if we have a problem with anything about the food, we give them immediate feedback. The change is noticeable the very next day,” adds another fourth year student. Once, a group of students from the second year found the Upma to be too dry. They made their displeasure known to the women. What they got the next time around was moist and definitely relished by the students. Though idli and the likes are nowhere close to the North Indian staples of Parathas, North Indian students also savour them because they are home cooked.

During Diwali, these students were also treated to some Tamil delicacies like Murukku, Pakoda etc by these women. “What they sell is affordable. Instead of going to restaurants and shelling out more money for the same food, this is so much better. We can be assured of the quality too,” adds Rajat. The hostel mess provides the same old watery dal, rice, and at times non-vegetarian food. To add to the misery, the number of restaurants around NITT is few. It was this reporter’s personal experience that even in these hotels, the food available is not extraordinary that the home-cooked food cannot replace.

This idea is a win-win situation for both, the women entrepreneurs and the students of NITT. On one hand, these women are provided with a prolonged employment option, and also the students find some kind of solace in the food provided. Since this process is monitored by the Women Entrepreneurs’ Association of Tamil Nadu, concerns over quality and regularity are out of question too.