City Style – The Classy Delhiwalla, Ring Road
Searching for the stylish.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla saw this man on the Ring Road. He was wearing a blue salwar kurta. His dark-blue jacket was printed with hundreds of delicately shaped green leaves, while the flowers were in purple, red, yellow and white. Like the rest of his attire, the man’s sandals, too, were in a tint of blue. His hair was jet-black. He was driving an auto-rickshaw. There was no one dressed like him.
According to the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, the traffic police are powered to extract a fine of Rs 100 from an auto driver if he is not wearing the prescribed grey-coloured uniform. The moral fiber of our auto driver, therefore, can be interpreted in more than one ways.
Either: Dressed so colorfully, he is breaking traffic rules. How can we trust him with his driving?
Or: Refusing to be in grey, he is showing a zest for life.
As law-abiding citizens, our stubborn integrity in following the rules of the establishment may make us as firm and dumb as a mule. By his gentle defiance of the Delhi Traffic Police, this man tells us something that may not be proper but is still inspiring. His clothing suggests that we should, of course, not aspire to be compulsive law beakers, but neither should we strive to be a superior being, of a goodness and obedience and resignation that are positively angelic — that may crush us.
By dressing provocatively, the auto driver is able to devote some part of himself to the continuance of his private republic and its laws. To survive in a city, each one of us should be like him: a little disobedient. Only then we can be dutiful to the person within us.