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Delhiwale: Buddha of Khan Market

Private capital: Monet Lalparvul works at a café in Khan Market. She looks at peace and with her around world peace appears within grasp.

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2017 15:15 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Monet Lalparvul  at a Khan Market café where she works.
Monet Lalparvul at a Khan Market café where she works. (Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

It is Saturday morning. Customers will soon start arriving in this Khan Market café with their MacBooks and moleskine diaries. As the café -in-charge, she will be moving between the tables, quietly bringing this salad to a window-side couple or that juice to a TV news celebrity sitting grumpily in the corner.

Surprisingly, her trademark serenity will not dissipate even in the busiest hours. She always seems at peace. One feels calm around her. She is the Buddha of Khan Market.

Sharing her first name with the last name of a great French impressionist, Monet Lalparvul is from Manipur. Her father, a pastor, had named her after an American man who had sponsored his education.

Ms Lalparvul shares her one-room apartment in South Extension-I with her younger sister, Angela, who works as a chef in the same café. Every morning, the sisters arrive at work in an auto-rickshaw and go back home in the evening in a DTC bus.

Ms Lalparvul came to Delhi a decade ago after completing her graduation from Manipur. She worked through two jobs before settling down in the café. Here she has become a living landmark. To regulars, her presence brings a reassuring familiarity — an expat woman who moved to the UK a few years ago recently wrote to us asking about “my quiet friend Monet”.

The weekend customers are trickling in. Monet arranges the tables, attends to the arrivals, takes the orders, and supervises the waiters — quietly. World peace appears within grasp, at least as long as you are around her.