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Fast Food Culture, a far ending trend near the Hospital.



Who doesn't like fast food? The most available eatables one can get hands on and the cheapest too but as we all know along with contentment comes disadvantages like abdominal pain, food poisoning, etc.

 They do come under the category of” Junk Foods” which are labeled illegal by the rules of the Hospital.


But this case is completely different in my hometown Gangtok,Sikkim.

When one comes to the best hospital” STNM Hospital in Sokeythang, Sichey”

At the very entrance and diagonal roads of the building, one can spot lines and groups of local people selling fast food, who are generally termed the “FAST FOOD SELLERS”.


One has to be ready with patience when they approach the fast food sellers as their cries would pierce their ears with “ Bhaini /Bhai Kay khani eata au ( sister /brother you want to eat something come here ), Aungnus Aungnus Aungnus eta Aungnus (come here, come here come here ) .

The majority of the sellers are women hence sometimes their cries sound like a threat.


On one such occasion, I had to accompany my uncle for his dialysis check up which gave me enough time to explore through their section and get to know more about them.

I went to one seller Mr Pema who has a different technique to sell his food .He has a food van to do his business, unlike other people who come by foot and set up their stalls mostly the one big umbrella underneath three to four local stools,mura, and set their things in the ground.


I asked him some questions on this topic and he was kind enough to reply to them amidst the busy schedule where his customers poured in like rain.




 

Questions I asked Mr Pema 


Q1) What are your timings for this duty? What do you all sell ?

Mr Pema - “ I along with some female sellers come at 7 am in the morning and return back by 7 pm in the evening “ .

That's my daily routine but sometimes if my sale goes well and everything is sold out I leave for home early and get some rest .

We basically sell Momo (veg,beef,chicken ,pork ) , Sha Phaley (chicken non veg ) ,Roti Sabji (veg aloo dum and non veg - beef gravy ) ,fried rice with Sabji ,and tea.




Q2) Why did you think of setting up this food van in Hospital, especially Sokeythang? What are the peak seasons for the business?


Mr Pema - “Earlier I used to work In restaurant called Taste of Gangtok in MG Marg and the work would fluctuate everytime.

But working here in Sokythang everything is stable 24/7. It is just the case of profit which fluctuates a little during Monsoon time when the weather does not favor more people and it gets very difficult for us to maintain things in the extreme weather.

And during winter when most people go on their vacation.

But these fluctuations can be compensated compared to my previous work “ 


Q3 ) What are the difficulties you face in managing this business right in front of the Hospital.

Do they come for checking? 

Mr Pema “Timing is the main  thing. Earlier, when I had joined this business and was a fresher, it was very difficult for me to compete with the ladies who used to sell their items and were very confident with their cries .

In Order to survive I had to win over them .

These ladies are very dedicated with their work although we do not stay till the night but they stay till 12 or 1 am inorder to get their business done .

Hence it's very difficult to win them over .

But presently my business is moving smoothly hence it isn't a necessity for me to cry out like them .


As for the Checking or inspection people do come in to check but they don't Check the quality of food and as plastics are banned they instruct us to avoid using plastic”


Q4)How do you manage the hygiene which plays an important role for a business being set up right in front of the hospital? .


Mr Pema - “Hygiene is the most difficult thing for us to maintain especially for me who has to be in the van and have to come out to clean the mess .

“Bhitra aikita bhairo maila Bhai halcha “ (Once I come into my van ,it becomes very messy outside in the stall ) .


Especially during monsoon times when the dustbin leaks and it stinks and becomes soggy .

It gives us a hard time to clean things up”.


Although hospital staff do enjoy the local delicacies like the visitors of the hospital .

It brings out an irony about the fact that they are the ones who instruct us and give us awareness of food and forbids us to eat junk food .

When they come out of their hospital they join others to enjoy their meal during the breaks .

Another irony is that the one which is most forbidden In a place is found abundantly in that place .


In conclusion, Fast Food culture does have an originality as it includes our traditional foods which we enjoy despite our profession.

 



Lungmying Lepcha is a 17 th year old 12 grader hailing from the Himalayan state Sikkim.

A poet in progress she loves listening to Indie music and reading books which she

reviews eternity later .


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