TODAY -

Serving with love and decency by an elderly couple

James Khangenbam *

 Mutum Rajen
Mutum Rajen



Seventy-three years old Mutum Rajen and his wife Rashi wakes up in the morning around 4:00 am. They run a small hotel at a space own by themselves at Pureiromba Ema Keithel, Palace Compound.

It is a centrally located small market place where 50 vendors selling vegetables, fruits, fishes make their living. Some grocery shops, pharmacies are also around the corner.

Rajen would sit in a chair and make Roti (Indian bread) for breakfast while his wife would serve their customer. They start preparing for the day from their home starting 4:30 am.

Eating breakfast at the hotel is quite popular in Imphal. Decades back 'Charawanba with rice and curry menu was the traditional breakfast item at home. Every locality has a Roti and Sabji (vegetable) hotel now.

When the breakfast shift is over Rajen and Rashi would prepare Aloo and plain Paratha during the lunch time. They also prepare Haluwa, Tea, Pakora, Samosa, and Nimki. Their shop closes around 7:00 pm in the evening.

And for the last 15 years they have been serving their customer in plain papers. They would buy reams of paper from the press or the market and cut into desirable sizes.

According to Rajen 7 kgs of paper lasts for 15 days and it costs them a sum of Rs 600. In a month they spend around Rs 1200 in procuring plain paper. Rajen finds it very clean and hygienic to serve food in plain paper.

According to Rashi serving in paper is more efficient than plates as it saves time, water and labour. More interestingly their endeavor to serve in plain paper started 15 years back and it makes all the difference.

The customers are also accepting the service. The couple has been putting efforts to avoid lead consumption by their customers. The decency this sweet couple has is worth appreciating. Of course, many big sweet shops wrap food items in small paper bags for takeaways. But this hotel is unique among local hotels that casually warp eatable food in used books and magazine.

The newly announced once a month holiday for all kinds of business in the market place by the State government is an unwelcomed approach remarks Rajen. He is more conscious of the loss of a business day by the State.

His progressive thoughts at the age of 70 plus are worth appreciating. Rajen and Rashi enjoy serving customers. Their son also helps in their business from time to time.

They have made good friends with their regular customers and the market place is a campus of joy to the lovely couple. Perhaps their humble dedication and soulful service is indicated in the delicious food they serve.

The consciousness about health and the enduring practice they put into is worth appreciating.


* James Khangenbam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jameskhangenbam7(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 08 2023.



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