Mission Delhi – Pritika Sah, Kotla Mubarakpur
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The mobile phone alarm beeps without fail at 6.30. Though she doesn’t really need that morning alert. She gets up moments before, alerted by her internal body clock. Pritika Sah then wakes up Aayushi, and escorts her little daughter to the school in Defence Colony, nearby; both walking through the still sleepy alleys of their Kotla Mubarakpur village. She is back home by eight. Husband, Ram Kumar, is still asleep (he returns home at three in the morning, after finishing his late night shift as a cook in a Nehru Place restaurant), but their little son, Shiva, is lazily awake—playing alone, too young to go to the school.
Her day then proceeds in a set routine: taking care of the children, preparing the meals and cleaning the house.
This routine recently underwent an alteration. Already a working woman at home, she added up even more work to her daily life. Some three months back, she opened an eatery, around the corner from her rented residence.
“To add to our income source,,” she says this late morning, standing within her establishment. House of Spice is installed inside a small shop space she and her husband took up on rent. The walls are sea-blue. A plywood shelf is largely empty. A single-burner gas range is perched atop the counter. The menu lists dishes like chicken lolli pop and manchow soup.
Placing her arms on the counter, the first-time entrepreneur wonders about her enterprise. It’s so new to make any prediction, she feels. Plus, she regrets not being fluent in English. “We are from Darjeeling, we studied in Nepali medium (school)… English is so important in this world.”
Since her earlier responsibilities remain intact, she continues to escort the girl to and from the school, make sure the child attends the afternoon tuition classes, and check continually on the son who stays at home.
Lifting a large bag filled with veggies, she gets to work, and fast.
[This is the 530th portrait of Mission Delhi project]