This is Narayanan Krishnan’s story. For all those who watched Ustad Hotel (Malayalam Film) he is Jayaprakash in the film. With a degree in hand and future in sight, Narayanan was on his way to be an award-winning chef at a 5-star restaurant in Switzerland after being an award-winning chef with Taj Hotels, Bangalore. All it took to change his plans forever was a walk on the streets of his home town of Madurai, India. It was then that he was taken aback by an elderly man lying on the side of the road. This man was starving and filthy. Narayanan reached out to this old man who placed his frail, wrinkled dirty hand upon his. This was a defining moment.
“I saw a very old man, literally eating his own human waste out of hunger. I went to the nearby hotel and asked them what was available. They had idly, which I bought and gave to the old man. Believe me, I had never seen a person eating so fast, ever. As he ate the food, his eyes were filled with tears. Those were the tears of happiness.”
Narayanan decided in this moment that helping this man and those in need would be a life well-lived, providing him the happiness and fulfillment he had yet to experience until this moment.
Narayanan Krishnan, all of 33 years old now, does what he was professionally trained to do as a chef, feed people. Only difference is Krishnan does not do this in the swanky confines of a 5-star hotel. Every day, he wakes up at 4 am, cooks a simple hot meal and then, along with his team, loads it in a van and travels about 200 km feeding the homeless in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, 365 days a year.
Krishnan feeds, often with his hands, almost 400 destitute people every day. And for those who need it, he provides a free haircut too. He has provided more than 1.2 million hot meals through his nonprofit organisation Akshaya Trust, and now hopes to extend this to shelter for the homeless too. Krishnan is the only Indian in a list of 10 heroes that CNN has picked worldwide to honor. Its so true all it takes is one moment to forever change you.