Mission Delhi – Jaswant Rai Goyal, Regal Cinema Building, Connaught Place
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
He has been selling mutual fund forms and posters of gods and goddesses on the same spot in Connaught Place for more than 25 years. He is more than 80.
This humid afternoon, too, Jaswant Rai Goyal, as always, is sitting at his stall outside the Regal Cinema building.
Mr Goyal is dressed formally in a white half-sleeved shirt, black trousers and black shoes (with no socks). The posters are arranged neatly on the pavement while he is perched on a cement block. Shoppers are busily passing by him. Nobody is noticing the man. He is as still as a statue. An ‘Om’ is tattooed on the back of his right palm.
“I live in Lajpat Nagar,” says Mr Goyal, referring to the South Delhi neighbourhood. Every morning at ten he boards a bus for Connaught place. He shuts down his stall at four in the evening.
People of his age usually take up retirement from active work.
He shrugs. “I once had a salaried job. I maintained account books.”
He says he lives alone. “Sometimes I cook food at home… sometime I eat out in the dhabas.”
He looks down at his shoes, “I work because I don’t have my own house. Have to pay my rent.”
Looking at the market crowd, Mr Goyal remarks, “Our lives are full of incidents but what is the point of raking up history?”
He falls quiet, and stays as unmoving as a sculpture.
[This is the 120th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The Regal Cinema landmark