Mission Delhi – Pathik Kar, Oxford Bookstore

Mission Delhi – Pathik Kar, Oxford Bookstore

One of the one percent in 13 million.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Keeping the book back on the shelf, the young waiter takes out his smartphone and says, “See my website. I launched it last year.”

The Delhi Walla meets Pathik Kar at Oxford Bookstore in the Colonial-era Connaught Place. A staffer in the bookshop’s tea lounge, he is showing me his blog.

“I want people to share their experiences with me,” says Mr Kar. “And through this blog I also want them to see the things I had to face in life.”

As a regular to the tea lounge, I have always found Mr Kar polite, quick and cheery but it’s the first time that he is talking to me of things other than the sandwich of the day.

“One day I overheard my parents discussing the difficulty of affording my school fee,” he says (we are chatting in Hindi). “Until then I had no idea of our limited finances. Though my farmer-father worked on other people’s lands, he kept me away from money matters. I was very disturbed on coming face-to-face with our poverty. I saw bleak prospects for my future if I continued to live in the village. A few days later I left for Delhi. My parents understood.”

Mr Kar’s village in Bengal lies close to the coast. “You can see the sea from the roof,” he says.

In Delhi, there was no time to get dreamy-eyed about the countryside. The lean-bodied Mr Kar started his new life as an extra hand at a roadside food stall in Noida, and steadily moved up from one catering job to another. He also worked briefly in a ‘biscuit factory’ where he was recruited only after he made several unsuccessful attempts – he would go there every Sunday with his hand-written resume that he had scrawled on a sheet of paper.

“I have struggled… I want to write about my early days in Delhi so that others can learn from my mistakes,” he says.

I’m curious to know about some of Mr Kar’s mistakes but his website, The Indian Mirrors, lacks original content. However his plans are ambitious.

“The blog will soon have regular features on parties and fashion,” he says. “I’ll also introduce a section on legal issues. But first I want it to become a platform where all of us can write about our lives.”

Just then a customer impatiently waves at Mr Kar. Perhaps he is ready to place an order.

The blogger’s immediate duties acquire more urgency – for now.

[This is the 84th portrait of Mission Delhi project]

Can I have a fresh blog please?