The Patel family with their award

Karma is real for Hindu Twickenham family given award

A Hindu family, originally greeted in the 70s with hostility and racism, has been rewarded by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for prevailing with outstanding community spirit.

The Patel Family, who run a newsagent on Hampton Road by Twickenham Green, received the highest ever amount of local nominations for a Points of Light award, winning in December.

The award commemorates outstanding volunteer contributions in the UK every day.

In January, Sunak wrote a personalised letter of gratitude “on behalf of the whole country” to Shashi and Pallu Patel, who run Meet and Deep News, named after their two sons Meet and Deep Patel.

Deep said: “We are fulfilling our purpose as Hindus just to do good onto others. Sunak’s line ‘On behalf of the whole country’ made us cry. Our little shop has been appreciated.”

Shashi and Pallu stayed in Twickenham and ran the newsagent after seeking advice from their local guru, who preached that those who are least kind often need kindness the most.

They have focused on good karma as a family since, through several charitable efforts and in creating a trusted safe-space.

The Patel family’s efforts involve animal care as they nurse injured birds to health in their stock room, before sending them to London Wildlife Protection.

They also give free information leaflets to customers about humanely dealing with animal pests, such as mice.

Their advice is often shared on social media, and has reached as far as Australia.

Deep said: “If we can teach people to be kinder to the little things in life, we can be kinder to each other. That will relate to a kinder community and a kinder society.

“Our shop is a microcosm of the world. We use our customers as an example to challenge stereotypes.

“We have received controversial and narrow minded views but you learn to explain and customers leave less narrow minded.

“We got a couple back together on the verge of divorce. That’s more fulfilling than selling 1000 chocolate bars.”

The Patel family extend their prayers of good energy to everyone as Meet set up a food bank during the Covid lockdowns, as well as a free heat hub, to help alleviate the cost of living.

Adults and children who wish to be hugged or just want to talk are welcomed inside anytime to keep warm or for when it is dark, and the newsagent is kept open for two hours on Christmas day each year.

Pressure is never exerted on anyone to make a purchase.

A SAFE SPACE: Heat, sanctuary and books are offered at Meet and Deep. Credit: Ina Pace.

The newsagent’s interior is a treasure trove of gifted talismans and homely features.

There is a measuring wall showing customers’ heights through the years, also a wall of entrusted house keys from customers.

Above all, the Patel family’s efforts are unconditional. They never expected any award.

Pallu said: “I was shocked. We thought the award body were making a joke.”

The Patel family remain proud of their legacy.

Deep said: “Everyone who comes through these doors will leave with something that will help them in their life, not just an item from our shelves.”

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