Mission Delhi - Doibila, Oxford Cha Bar

Mission Delhi – Doibila, Oxford Cha Bar

Mission Delhi - Doibila, Oxford Cha Bar

One of the one percent in 13 million.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

That couple over there at the corner table are asking for pasta and something else that The Delhi Walla isn’t able to hear. Waitress Doibila quickly jots down the order with assured professionalism. Seconds later, she helps out a new waitress who doesn’t understand the customer’s accent.

I’m at at Oxford Cha Bar in Central Delhi where Doibila goes about her trade, radiating the kind of friendly self-confidence that customers always appreciate.

I do manage to exchange a few words with her after spotting a silver tag on her black uniform that reads: “Trainee.”

“It’s true!” laughs Doibila. “I’m from a village in Manipur’s Senapati district and haven’t been here very long.”

Manipur isn’t next door and it’s natural to ask why she’s come to the Capital from so far away.

Doibila looks surprised, perhaps sensing a kind of ignorance on my part. “But, my friend, there’s no work there!”

The waitress goes on to say that she studied only up to Class 8 and then followed what many folks her age did — moved to Delhi. “It took me three days and two nights to reach here.”

Doibila landed the job through a network of friends. Indeed, the other new waitress hails from her part of the world as well. In Delhi, she lives with her brother and his wife in Malviya Nagar.

I can’t help asking about her hopes and dreams as a young woman in her 20s. “My dreams?” Doibila smiles and shrugs. “I’ll think about it and tell you some other day.” She then walks up to another table.

[This is the 146th portrait of Mission Delhi project]

The efficient trainee


Mission Delhi - Doibila, Oxford Cha Bar


Mission Delhi - Doibila, Oxford Cha Bar


Mission Delhi - Doibila, Oxford Cha Bar