Everybody is dealing with COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions in different ways. While there's no single right way to cope — social distancing and staying TF home aside — connecting with friends, family, and neighbors is a good place to start. You can contact your loved ones on your own, but you might also be curious how your favorite strangers in Pittsburgh are coping, so Pittsburgh City Paper is reaching out once a day to artists, activists, workers, and makers to see how they're doing.
Today, it's Harpreet Pabla, manager of Peoples Indian Restaurant.
What is your day-to-day routine like these days?
So, a lot has changed with Covid-19. Normally we would just walk in, wash our hands, and get to work. Now, I go in, wash my hands, and start sanitizing everything even though we sanitized at the end of the day. Not a lot of prep work in the morning since we don’t have any dine in. But I think the biggest change is constantly cleaning and sanitizing the restaurant. By the time this is all over, I don’t think I will be able to smell anything else besides bleach and rubbing alcohol. 😂
What’s your favorite dish — not from your menu — to eat at a time like this? What food brings you comfort?
I absolutely love pizza. I can eat it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Spak Brothers 👍. But they are closed, too. 😔
Your family has been donating free food boxes to people in need. When did that idea come together?
I was born in Punjab, India into a Sikh family, so from a very early age it was one of the main things I saw when there were any natural disasters or riots, war, etc. ... the Sikhs were always on the forefront of helping others. I think growing up in that environment has kind of just been with me my entire life. Sikhs feed six million people in India every day for free in their temples (gurdwara). I came to the restaurant and talked to my father and uncle about doing the lunch boxes and both said they had been thinking about it too. So the rest is history. We have distributed around 2,500+ lunch boxes.
What are you most looking forward to doing once the restrictions and quarantines are lifted?
I am looking forward to being able to hug my family and friends without worrying.
What dish — on your menu — is especially popular now? What are people ordering more of?
Chicken Tikka Masala hands down is the most popular dish on the menu, but I also noticed Lamb Do Piaza has really taken off the last month.
What art/TV/movies/music/books/etc. are you consuming these days? What helps?
Been watching a lot of Netflix, Messiah, food shows, been reading up on my favorite Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
What’s a charity or cause that you’d recommend Pittsburghers look into at this time?
I work with a charity called Khalsa Aid based out of the U.K. They go anywhere and everywhere in the world — middle of wars, genocides without fear, and do amazing work. If people are looking to help humanity, they need to check these guys out.
I have become a better person just watching these guys help humanity without expectations. They are as wonderful. "Recognize the whole human race as one” is what they live by and boy, they deliver on it every second.