Spring in the winter.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi winter is composed of thick fog and gray skies. But The Delhi Walla is in a park in Connaught Place and the December sky is clear blue.
The sunrays are rebelliously pressing through the cold air. A bearded man is lying on the wet greenish-brown grass; he is reading Madhur Kathaein — the Hindi magazine’s cover shows a special issue on sex-change surgeries. A band of shoe shiner kids are enjoying a break with Coca Cola, their wooden shoeshine kits arranged carelessly around them. A partially bald man is sitting on the park’s green railing, his back turned towards the Colonial-era Regal Cinema building. An elderly shoe shiner is squatting on the ground, polishing the bald man’s shoes.
Nearby, a brown dog is ogling at a pair of ladies shoes, while these three men sitting on the bench here are obviously strangers to each other. The man on the left is dozing; the man on the right has a novel open on his lap; the man in the middle is looking here, there and there.
A few steps away a young man is talking to somebody on his mobile phone. His eyes are staring at some vague distant object.
Soon a child vendor walks down a slope — his little hand holding out a bunch of pink cotton candy to anyone willing to buy. This boy in red sweater should have been in a classroom… but let’s not go there. Let’s just focus on the sunshine.