City Life – Home Sweet Home, Bangla Sahib Road
Inside the walls.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One afternoon The Delhi Walla visits rickshaw puller Hari Narain Goswami at his residence in central Delhi. Mr Goswami’s double bed consists of two mattresses laid out on a pavement on Bangla Sahib Road. The covers are printed with blue and purple flowers – perhaps the only decorative items in the house. A native of Madhubani in Bihar, Mr Goswami also has two blankets, though, he says, he lives alone.
The young man’s laundry (striped shirt, checked boxers, etc.) is drying on the fence behind. The water to wash the clothes is obtained from a hand pump nearby. He takes his morning bath, too, under the same pump. The house has no kitchen. “I eat it in the pavement stalls,” he says.
A sheet of polypropylene, usually used to make cement sacks, is tied to the fence and is pulled out by Mr Goswami on rainy days.
Sitting down on his bed, he throws a glance at his neighbor, just across a manhole. That elderly man is fast asleep on a thin and frayed chatai (mat). Mr Goswami’s home is clearly more comfortable.
An open-air habitat