Inside the walls.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One morning The Delhi Walla stands outside residential quarters of laborers in Vasundhara, a suburb outside Delhi.
The four homes share a common roof–a long sheet of tin supported on planks of plywood. The tin is made to lean against the concrete wall of an apartment building. The families are lounging outside their respective dwellings. The entrance to each house is curtained by rice sacks, but one has a red cloth instead. Earthen stoves are built outside the houses. Multistoried apartments are seen beyond the clothesline.
A light blue plastic is spread over the tin as protection from the rain. The roof is littered with all sorts of household stuff –bucket, jars, shoes and a yellow plastic helicopter. There are small children in every house. They don’t attend school. A little girl in yellow frock is frolicking around with a packet of Parle G biscuits.
The laborers don’t want me to publish their names. One of them says that they all hail from the same village in the Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh and that they have been living in Delhi for the past two years. “We keep moving from one locality to another in search of work,” says one of the women. Both men and women work at construction sites, but women also have to cook the meals every morning.
A few weeks ago the laborers had set up their temporary homes in East Delhi’s Nirman Vihar. “There is currently not much work available in Vasundhara,” says one of the men, his shy son hiding behind his back. “If there is no change in the situation, we will have to move to some other place.”
And then these houses will disappear.