The QNet team were super excited to meet Narayanan Krishnan, winner of the V-RYTHM Award 2011, when he dropped by the QNet Pavilion on Tuesday, 31 May 2011.

Few have accomplished what Mr Krishnan who is only 29: the former chef gave up a promising career to care for the mentally-ill destitutes in his hometown of Madurai, India. Every day, he and his dedicated team feed nearly 400 people, come rain or shine. So far, they have served over 1.2 million meals! Plus he gives haircuts to the people he serves, hoping to give them the dignity they deserve. No wonder he was selected to be one of CNN’s Heroes of 2010!

 

To build homes and provide shelter for them, Mr Krishnan founded the non-profit Akshaya Trust that relies on donations to survive. Want to help? Visit the official Akshaya Trust website today.

In case you can’t view the video, here’s what the amazing yet humble Mr Krishnan had to say:

What inspires you? Who’s your role model?
Banning human hunger every day. Mentally-ill people don’t have anybody to take care of them and that inspires me. They are also my role model.

It’s a really tough job. Do you ever feel like giving up? How do you stay motivated?
My inner conscience always tells me, if you don’t feed them, there’s nobody to do it. That’s how I started doing it and it keeps me motivated.

When you have a substitute for any cause, when there’s a substitute arrangement, when you have a second or third person doing it, you lose track or rhythm. But when it’s only you, you have to keep going.

How did you manage to find a like-minded team to help you when you started?
It’s very simple. I always say that any good cause will never be short of resources, like the Akshaya Trust. If people want to do something, they will definitely join hands together to do it.

We take care of the mentally ill who have their own problems and together with their family, they want to do something for the cause. So it gels with their attitude and mentality. Because there is direct interaction with real human beings, there are people who want to put in their time and effort to help. The cause speaks for itself.

We read that you know how to cut 8 different hairstyles. Have you ever given anyone a Mohawk or anything funky?
[Smiling] No, just a basic haircut. The concept is that you have to keep them clean from dandruff, see that they have very short hair. That’s it.

Do you have a favourite dish to make for them?
We cook only vegetarian food. Some of the dishes they really like are parotta, vegetable briyani, and sabji with vegetables.

Just one last question. Everyone wants to know… are you single?
Nooo, I’m not single. [Pulling in the woman next to him] This is my wife.

 

Oops!