Mission Delhi – The Silent Woman, Mausam Bhawan Bus Shelter
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Her eyes are closed. The Delhi Walla meets her at the Mausam Bhawan bus shelter on Lodhi Road. The woman has occupied a corner of the space where commuters sit while waiting for their buses to arrive.
“She is sleeping,” says Azad, a labourer who works in the area. “She lives in this bus stop. I have been seeing her here for five years. She never speaks. She is always silent.”
The woman is wearing a man’s black suit. It falls like a loose bag around her thin figure. Her elbow is resting on a white plastic sack.
“It is stuffed with clothes that people donate to her,” Azad says.
The shelter serves as a bus stop for Jor Bagh, one of Delhi’s most affluent neighbourhoods. Across the road is Lodhi Garden. The city’s Very Important People go there for their morning walks.
A green Delhi Transport Corporation bus comes to a stop. The doors slide open. Two men get off. The doors close. The bus goes away.
The woman continues to sleep. A steel-grey Maruti Baleno is parked behind the shelter.
“Sometimes I see her mumbling something to herself,” says Azad. “When she feels hungry, she walks to the nearby Sai Baba temple for food.”
The woman has rings on her fingers and she is wearing a necklace.
A few minutes later she opens her eyes and looks at the waiting commuters. She turns her gaze towards the road. It is begining to rain. Her face shows no expressions. She closes her eyes and goes back to her world.
[This is the 62nd portrait of Mission Delhi project]