Kujang: Santosh Kumar Sahu, a 54-year-old man who runs a roadside eatery at New Market here by the side of the Cuttack-Paradip road, doesn’t know exactly when he developed the passion for feeding birds. But it is something he relishes doing.
Santosh, a confectioner hailing from Pankapal area under Kujang tehsil in Jagatsinghpur district, has to deal with two types of customers every day. Renowned for making mouth-watering delicacies, Santosh’s eatery attracts regular customers in the morning and evening. The other major attraction is the number of birds coming there to have food.
In spite of a proper educational background, Santosh did not opt for a private job but chose to run the family business.
He started his first eatery at Pankapal Old Market area 20 years ago and later shifted it to the New Market locality. He makes different kinds of food for his customers and at the same prepares something special for the birds.
“The birds eat sweets from my hands and it gives me a different kind of pleasure. In fact, these birds cannot say anything, but their chirping is enough to suggest that they are happy having the food,” Santosh states.
While narrating his bonding with birds, Santosh says, “If I am late in getting up, these birds chirp continuously as if asking me when would I feed them.”
The scene of birds of different shapes, sizes and colours eating out of Santosh’s hand is a feast for the eyes. Locals throng at his eatery not only to have food but also to see the birds.
“Apart from birds and animals, I also feel happy when I get an opportunity to provide food to the hungry or mentally-challenged people. My wife Pratima encourages me in this regard.”
Local hawkers heaped huge praise on him. “He may not be rich, but he has a big heart. He never shies away from helping others and he does so with a smile.” They said.
Santosh’s eldest daughter Sarojini Sahu, a gold medalist from Sambalpur University, works at Khalikote College as a lecturer. His two sons Satyapriya and Saumyakant are working with private companies in Hyderabad.