One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
There is a tree with brown leaves and a pair of anonymous graves in front of him. The young man is seated down on the floor; his back against a marble wall. He is writing on a sheet of white paper; his raised knee is doubling up as his writing pad.
One evening The Delhi Walla meets Meer Aliza at the dargah of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. He is in the shrine’s outlying courtyard. Distracted by my intrusion, he emerges out from his world of deep thoughts and shows me his half-filled page. It’s in Urdu. “I’m trying to write what I’m feeling right now,” he says. “I feel some sort of magic here,” he says, turning towards the dome of Hazrat Nizamuddin’s tomb. “There is a sense of peace…. I often come here.”
A bird is gliding around the dome.
Mr Aliza is studying to be a Chartered Accountant. He lives in nearby Jangpura. “I share the room with my elder brother who is a supervisor in a company that exports leather accessories to the U.S., UK, Canada and Turkey.”
Mr Aliza hails from a village close to the Indian border with Nepal. His father still lives there. Talking of his immediate plans, he says that he would like to first earn a decent amount of money. “I hope I will not spend it all on myself because…” Here Mr Aliza pauses for a moment and suddenly becoming animated. Continuing in a more passionate voice, he says, “You know… education does not dramatically improve your life but things are worse when one is not educated… I know this… and so I will try to use some of my earning to help educate my relatives… and also my neighbors.”
The sun has already set. A large crowd has gathered in the shrine for the evening prayer. The man leading the congregation is urging Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya to bring happiness and well-being to all. Mr Aliza continues to remain seated. He has gone back to his writing.
[This is the 112th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Writer at work