Mission Delhi – Yashwant 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 Hindu gods on the same spot in Connaught Place for 25 years. He is 80.
One humid afternoon The Delhi Walla meets Yashwant Rai Goyal 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 sitting on a cement block. Shoppers are passing to and fro in front of 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 a 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 your age usually live in retirement,” I say.
He responds by saying nothing. Mr Goyal once had a salaried job. “I used to keep a tab of account books.”
He says he lives alone. His sons, too, are in the same city. “They are in Delhi… that is right… ” He pauses for a minute and says, “Sometimes I cook food at home… sometime I eat out at the dhabas.”
He looks down at his shoes and says, “I have to work because I don’t have a house of my own. I have to pay for my accommodation in Lajpat Nagar.”
Does he meet his sons?
Mr Goyal looks up and says, “What is the point of raking up history?” He then goes quiet, and again becomes as still as a statue.
[This is the 120th portrait of Mission Delhi project]