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Delhi-based dhaba's former employee now an Olympic-winning hockey star

The owners of Mohan Kamboj Dhaba are getting a giant flex made to celebrate hockey star Sumit Kumar, which will be put up on display at the dhaba. 

Published: 08th August 2021 10:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2021 12:28 PM   |  A+A-

Mohan Kamboj Dhaba at Murthal, where hockey star Sumit used to work.

Mohan Kamboj Dhaba at Murthal, where hockey star Sumit used to work. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Travelling along NH-44, first thing you notice after crossing Murthal are the numerous dhabas on both sides. It is a frequent jaunt of truck drivers as well as city folks. One among the 100-odd 24x7 eateries is Mohan Kamboj Dhaba. About 6 kms from the main chowk, one would not even bat an eyelid at it if not for a poster on its walls.

Indian hockey broke a 41-year jinx by clinching a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. A member of the historic triumph was 24-year-old Sumit Kumar hailing from Kurad village near Murthal. It was at this dhaba that Sumit and his elder brother Amit used to come to work.

Money and food were at a premium for the family of five. Parents Pratap Singh and Darshna Devi worked as daily-wagers to feed three sons. Sumit is the youngest, after Amit and Jai Singh. Despite having a bit of talent in hockey, Amit started working at the dhaba in 2005 to help his family. A nine-year-old Sumit used to accompany his brother everywhere and ended up helping him there as well.

"I used to wake up at 4 am and go clean the premises. I used to attend practice afterwards and Sumit used to follow me around. When I got busy with practice or studies, he used to work on my behalf," Amit told The New Indian Express.

While monetary compensation was nothing to write home about, the job ensured three square meals a day for the family. One of the brothers, after finishing the chores of the day, would carry the parcelled food home. 

“Those days, our menu was not as extensive. Paranthas, daal, a vegetable curry of the day, that was all. They were two bright boys and tried to help,” co-owner Parveen Kamboj said. The dhaba, in those days, was run by his father after whom it has been named. The place has received a lot of attention thanks to social media with people asking when Sumit will come visiting.

Grand celebrations have been planned for Sumit’s return. While the date is not final yet due to the Indian team’s numerous commitments, work is already underway. A giant flex is in the making and it will be installed in front of the dhaba. Also, a roadshow from Sonepat to Kurad is in the offing along with lunch and dinner at the place where it all began!

“Everybody should know Olympic medallist Sumit used to come here. He has put us on the world map,” Parvesh added. Menu? “Sumit doesn’t like flashy stuff and has asked for his favourite parantha-daal,” the owners said in unison.

Celebrations on the cards
The owners are getting a giant flex made, which will be put up on display at the dhaba. There will also be a celebratory dinner, where the player’s favourite parantha and daal will be on the menu

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