On Christmas Day, a group of seven firemen from Sirsa in Haryana began distributing free 'gol gappa' at the farmers' protest site in Singhu border, and the stock was over within half-an-hour.
What prompted Surender Kamboj and his friends to start this novel langar was seeing a child loitering near a stall selling 'gol gappa'. He could not help but ask the child what he wanted.
"'Gol gappa', said the boy who did not have any money," recalls the 33-year-old fire service personnel. What happened next amazed the child and the farmers in nearby trolleys.
Kamboj and his friends from the Rania fire station bought the entire stock of the seller and started a 'gol gappa' langar at the spot.
"The gol gappa seller had not earned anything as people have been eating at langars (community kitchen). He could sell his stock and we got a chance to do 'sewa' (service). It was a win-win situation for everybody," said Ravindra Kumar, another fire service personnel from Rania.
Kumar said seven fire service personnel, including him, have come to the site to support the agitating farmers. "We are a team of 21 personnel at the Rania fire station. We have decided to come to the Singhu border in three batches." The fire service personnel said they had permission from the head of the station to participate in the protest. A new batch will come in after every three days, they said.
"All of us own agricultural land in our villages. All of us are farmers," Davinder Singh, another fireman said. "Fire service is a responsible profession. But fighting for the rights of farmer community is a responsibility, too," Kamboj added.
It was a Christmas miracle for Mohammad Salim, the 'gol gappa' seller, who said Kamboj gave him Rs 1,000 which was more than what he expected.
He had earned just Rs 500 in the last three days.
"Everything is available for free at the langar. Anything that you would think of. Initially, I did not set up the stall thinking the protest would end in a few days. But it continued. I could not have stayed home forever," said the 26-year-old resident of Kundli village.