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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

‘Can’t work in the farm any more… get tired. This is what I know best’

On the speed at which the Modi government has been pushing Bills through amidst Opposition protests, TMC MP Derek O’Brien asked if it was making legislation or papri chaat.


August 8, 2021 4:04:12 am
Derek O’Brien

On the speed at which the Modi government has been pushing Bills through amidst Opposition protests, TMC MP Derek O’Brien asked if it was making legislation or papri chaat. Monu Singh on his hard life as a papri chaat maker:

How long have you been in this profession?

I come from a family of farmers in Gwalior, but have been selling street food in Delhi for four years now. My brother came first, and I followed. I have been seeing him make street food since I was 10. Nobody taught me, I saw others, picked the skill. Now I sell aloo chaat, papri chaat and golgappas.

What all goes into a papri chaat?

I use potatoes, onions, tamarind chutney, curd and a pinch of chaat masala, adding all to the papri. I use the same sweet and tangy chutney for golgappas and chaat, preparing it whenever it gets over.

How has Covid hit your work?

When the lockdown was announced in March last year, I was back home. I didn’t return for six months, but had to continue paying house rent of Rs 3,000. This year too, I went back fearing losses after Covid hit again. The uncertainty and lack of customers leave me hopeless most days. I make around Rs 600 on average daily, of which Rs 300-400 is my profit.

Will you consider going back to the village?

We grow wheat and paddy on our 1.5-acre land, but kheti ki aadat choot gayi hai, main khet mein bahut thak jaata hoon (I am not used to farming, it makes me very tired). Making street food comes more naturally to me.

What do you think of papri chaat figuring in Parliament?

I don’t know much about it, would not like to comment on it.

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