Mission Delhi – Julie, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
She looks like a starving Buddha, so thin that her bones are showing. One evening The Delhi Walla meets Julie, a dog, in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. Famed for its Sufi shrine, this urban village happens to have a great number of meat shops. The area’s dogs prowl around for scraps of food.
But Julie has self-exiled herself on the village’s border. She is watching the traffic on Lodhi Road though seems to be in extreme discomfort. She tries to sit, but fails. She tries to walk, but looks as if she is in great pain.
“Julie baby was fine until a week ago,” says a roadside vendor of peanuts. “She used to run after birds,” says an ice-cream seller. A beggar, who too seems to know the brown dog, says, “Somebody has done black magic on her.”
Julie walks a few steps with seemingly great difficulty but stops. She looks down at her paws. It is impossible to guess what is going on in her mind. She tries to move back but is unable to do so. She looks down at the ground and remains still for several minutes.
“We give her food and water but she hardly eats anything,” says the peanut man. “I don’t know how she ended up like this. May be she had a fight with a dog or a cat and was injured.”
The street vendors say that Julie appeared in the Basti a few years ago when she was still a puppy. Nobody could tell just how she came to be known by her present name.
The peanut man adds, “Julie used to be very active. She was always hanging around the kebab stalls.”
A few minutes later Julie accidentally slips down the pavement. Lying slumped on the roadside, she remains as still as a statue in her new position.
As the evening ends and it gets darker, Julie becomes invisible.
[This is the 102nd portrait of Mission Delhi project]