Octogenarian’s ₹1 idlis are a boon to migrants workers and other needy customers

Industrialist Anand Mahindra gifted a promised house to octogenarian M Kamalathal, affectionately known as Idli Amma (mother), on Mother’s Day. A resident of Vadivelampalayam village on the outskirts of Coimbatore, she sells idlis for ₹1 each, making them affordable to migrant workers and other needy customers.

Three years ago, a video of Kamalathal toiling over a wood stove to prepare hot idlis went viral on social media and caught Mahindra’s attention. On September 10, 2019, he tweeted, “One of those humbling stories that make you wonder if everything you do is even a fraction as impactful as the work of people like Kamalathal. I notice she still uses a wood-burning stove. If anyone knows her I’d be happy to ‘invest’ in her business & buy her an LPG fueled stove.”

As a follow-up, on April 2, 2021, Mahindra tweeted, “Only rarely does one get to play a small part in someone’s inspiring story, and I would like to thank Kamalathal, better known as Idli Amma, for letting us play a small part in hers. She will soon have her own house cum workspace from where she will cook & sell idlis.”

Kamalathal sells around 600 Idlis a day, with sambar and chutney as accompaniments. The octogenarian works on her own, right from preparing the batter to making the idlis.

“Thanks to the @MahindraRise team for understanding from Kamalathal how we can ‘invest’ in her business. She said her priority was a new home/workspace. Grateful to the Registration Office at Thondamuthur for helping us achieve our 1st milestone by speedily registering the land,” the Mahindra Group Chairman tweeted.

“The Mahindra @life_spaces team will soon start the construction as per Kamalathal’s requirement. Once again thanks to BharatGas Coimbatore for providing her a continued supply of LPG,” he tweeted.

A year later, on Mother’s Day (May 8), Mahindra shared a video showing ‘Idli Amma’ entering her new home.

“Immense gratitude to our team for completing the construction of the house in time to gift it to Idli Amma on #MothersDay She’s the embodiment of a Mother’s virtues: nurturing, caring & selfless. A privilege to be able to support her & her work. Happy Mother’s Day to you all,” Mahindra tweeted on Sunday.

Earlier, in October 2019, responding to a viral video of Mysuru resident Dakshinamurty Krishna Kumar, who left a bank job to travel 48,100 km with his mother on a scooter as he wished to show her the length and breadth of India, Mahindra said he would like to gift a Mahindra KUV 100 NXT for the mother-son duo’s next journey. A year later, Kumar received the promised vehicle.

Published on May 10, 2022