Narayanan Krishnan has been nominated for the Epoch awards of 2013

Nominee Square

One of Akshaya supporters nominated Krishnan for the Epoch unsung heroes award of 2013. The organization that gives out these awards would like to hear from the organization what a $500 would mean to the cause and to the work. The nominees can be viewed at
Here in Krishnan’s words are what this $500 would mean.

“Dear supporters of Akshaya

You have all been with me and Akshaya through perhaps the journey of a life time – Helping the helpless. Without the support of so many individuals form all around the globe – The Akshaya home would not be able to stand proud and tall as she does today. $1 feeds 3 meals to one person. Can you image that with $500 we can feed all our nearly 425 to 450 helpless plus the staff who are on campus. Every dollar is precious to us. In fact the smallest denomination in any currency means a lot to us. So dear Epoch awards coordinators – for an organization that runs solely on donor funds the gift of $500 is huge. By giving me the visa gift card you will be joining me in feeding 425 to 450 hungry souls albeit for a day… join me in Helping the helpless.


Narayanan Krishnan

Managing Trustee. (Akshaya Trust)”

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The Akshaya Time Machine

We all love the weekends, don’t we? Don’t need a scientific research to tell us why, it’s simply because we could sleep longer than usual, as simple as that. No matter whom you ask, where you ask and how you ask the answer to the question – how was your weekend or what’s your weekend plan, sleep does feature in their response. Well ok, there could be other reasons such as shopping, movies, events, parties etc. Occasionally we might also hear someone say they spent a few hours in the old age home or cleaning up the neighborhood or painting the walls of a school. But very rarely do we hear someone say they spend their weekdays and weekends helping out those who can’t help themselves and in the process help them become independent. That’s their full time job, a full time job with no pay.

These few individuals, few very rare individuals are part of a very small tribe. Unlike other tribes, this tribe doesn’t fear any expulsion but the tribe has its own challenges. There is no organic growth for this tribe and sustenance is a major problem. The members of this tribe wake up everyday around about @ 4:00am rain or shine, summer or winter and no they don’t go jogging or for morning yoga, they instead get ready to cook. Cook for those people who may have families but are left alone on the streets, who may look normal but are mentally unstable, who do breathe to live but for most of us they don’t even exist.

The team from Madurai or rather the Akshaya team is part of this tribe, actually it is the tribe, who have been cooking 3 times a day for hundreds of such homeless for the past decade or so. But when do they wake up and when do they go to bed? How do they go look for the homeless? What’s the motivation for them to do this every day? Where do they buy the ration? How can they maintain the kitchen? What does a day look like in Akshaya – how many hours does the team work or even better how many hours do they sleep?

Let’s get some answers, who better to ask than the Akshaya Time Machine itself. The time machine that helps them manage a hectic schedule starting from 4:00am to 12:00am almost everyday, that not just guarantees that the team feeds all the homeless people within their reach three times a day but its also ensures it does with compassion and love. As Krishnan often says, food is for physical nourishment, love is for mental nourishment. The Time Machine also accounts for daily clean ups, daily grocery shopping, daily maintenance, paying bills, running errands and the list goes on.

We can look at the schedule for how the Time Machine is able to do this

4:30 AM : Wake Up for break fast preparation
6:30 AM : Ready with food for distribution
9:00 AM : Finish the morning rounds
9:30 AM : Vegetable Market
10:00 AM : Lunch Preparation
11:30 AM : Lunch Distribution / Akshaya Home/Admin work
3:00 PM : Back to Kitchen
3 – 4 PM : Akshaya Home
4:00 PM : Start the cooking
6:00 PM : Food Distribution / Akshaya Home/Admin /Attending specific donors based on their request of meeting me in person.
9:00 PM-10:00 PM : Akshaya Kitchen briefing & Grinding Idli / Dosa Maavu
10:00 PM – 12:00 : In Office – attending important emails, accounts, admin activities etc..

Phew, all this in 24 hours. Or is the Akshaya time machine operating on a schedule that has 48 hours in a day. If we go by the saying “Time is Money”, then the time machine would be the most valuable possession anyone can dream of, for it can squeeze 48 hours out of a day. We have all experienced how excruciatingly painful a day gets when it gets longer. But for the team, it’s the joy of giving that keeps them going minute after minute, hour after hour, from early in the morning to the wee hours of the next day. Even a time machine could run out of its batter life or if it was mechanical then the gears would worn out and the time machine would stop ticking, but not the Akshaya team.

The battery that keeps the team going gets charged with every smile the homeless give them, with every meal they cook for them, with every shower they give them and with every word of encouragement from the well wishers and with every bit of support from the donors & the sponsors.

Oh, btw, there is no time machine 🙂

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Krishnan hangsout with Akshaya USA !

Hangouts are what we usually associate with youngsters, something that’s supposed to be hip, something that’s cool and something that’s almost a Friday evening tradition. All parents can relate to this, whether they like it or not :-).

Well, Akshaya did something very cool today, although not on a Friday but on a Saturday morning. Thanks to the ubiquitous and the master of the internet universe, GOOGLE, Akshaya “google hung” out with Narayanan Krishnan. It was the first time akshaya tried this and so did Narayanan Krishnan and the entire team from Madurai.

It was an event that was planned just a week ago and hence there were quite a bit of last minute adjustments which included sound testing, setting up google hangout, posting messages etc, but there was one adjustment that’s worth noting – Krishnan combing his hair by looking himself in the webcam not realizing he was already live on the web. So Krishnan be assured you look as handsome as you did 10 years ago when you started this journey.

The Conversation

Krishnan started off the conversation with a whole hearted appreciation for all the online voters and the team of Akshaya USA, ably led by Latha, who helped Akshaya win the $10k grant and said this would have never been possible for Krishnan nor his team, to even think of participating in such a competition.

15 minutes into this conversation Krishnan suddenly disappeared from Google Hangout. Sreekanth, the host of the show, got him back with in 5 minutes. The disruption was not a technical one, but an age old problem of power cuts in India. The regular scheduled power cuts that is. Krishnan added that these power cuts happen through out the day in regular intervals for a total of almost 14 hours every day. Thanks to the inverter Krishnan was powered back on google hangout.

Krishnan carried on in his usual energetic and the ever enthusiastic tone. He gave an open invitation to all those who had any doubts or concerns regarding Akshaya or it’s operations to come visit Akshaya and spend a week to 10 days and see and experience for themselves. And the simple reason for the invitation is that while the team can answer/respond to the concerns via email or the phone, it not only is less effective and it also creates additional burden for the volunteers. So instead he encouraged everyone to join the Madurai team and be involved in the activities. The Madurai team was also introduced or rather invited to hangout with the “cool” people.

Speaking about the Akshaya Home, Krishnan pointed out that while the house is built to accomodate almost 450 homeless people, this will be done in a rather phased manner. The first 6 months will have about 50 homeless people. This is to understand what it takes to actually give them a home, what it takes to take care of them and also rehabilitate them.

Krishnan strongly felt that they should be able to stand up on their feet and earn for themselves once they become capable. They shouldn’t rely on Akshaya home. This would also give room to other homeless people. The current status of the home is that it’s 80% completed and all the exteriors including the compound well have been built.

Krishnan’s request:

  • Working from 4am to 12:00am day in and day out for 6 days of the week, carrying out the administration responsibilities, handling donor requests, feeding the homeless, monitoring the construction of Akshaya Home, the small team from Madurai hardly finds time to think about other aspects such as fund raising, writing proposals for grants etc.
  • Currently there is no budget allocation for an ambulance, a fully equipped ambulance that is, but Krishnan felt operating in an environment as vulnerable as this one, there is an absolute need and justification for this. More details will be made available on the Akshaya website soon.
  • Other essentials such as refrigerators, beds, cots and other household materials

Akshaya USA would like to thank Krishnan and the team for taking time out from their hectic schedules and hanging out with us. We hope the others who hung out with us found this in person interaction useful. Please don’t that think is the end of it, this is just the beginning.

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