Mission Delhi – Mohit Jain, Balbir Nagar Extension
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The neighbours are sniggering. Even his parents sometimes wonder….
Wondering why their grown-up son has crammed so many novels and poetry books into his tiny room here in the east Delhi locality of Balbir Nagar Extension (near Loni Road).
And not just any books. The Delhi Walla is talking about great authors like Marquez, Pessoa and Ishiguro that absolutely nobody within walking distance would be reading. (Or even heard of.) As he tells us.
“I know they’re laughing at me!” smiles Mohit Jain, 27. He seems just a bit uncomfortable as we talk, here in his windowless book-lined bedroom in a neighbourhood without bookshops, which makes this room even more special. (If you really need to know, the nearest bookstore, he says, is in faraway Connaught Place.)
Mr Jain confesses of not being used to visitors — claiming to be friendless except for two Facebook pals sharing his literary passions.
He has mainly acquired his beautiful editions online and never attends all those book launches in Delhi where he could so easily spot famous writers. “I just can’t be in a crowd,” he says guilty.
Mr Jain’s days tend to be swallowed up by a job in faraway Gurgaon, usually finding time to read only on the long Metro train commutes.
But now life has changed. He has quit the job to prepare for his Philosophy Masters, armed with the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy on his bedside table (a handsome flickable hardbound).
Also on his agenda are the entire works of Shakespeare, but really, what’s the purpose of all this reading if it has nothing to do with the career? I put the question to him in all seriousness.
Mr Jain bursts into uninhibited laughter, saying, “That’s exactly what the neighbors tell my parents!”
[This is the 143rd portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Bookless in Balbir Nagar Extension