Mission Delhi – Maria Gkourometsiou, Paharganj
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla spots her in a café in Paharganj, sitting at a corner table. After a while we fall into conversation — she starts it by asking about the book I’m reading.
“I’m alone,” she says. Turns out that Maria Gkourometsiou is a Greek textile artist who’s come to India with the aim to invigorate her work life. “You understand, our country is experiencing a devastating economic crisis.” Above all, she seeks inspiration as an artist, “and if you’ve come so far from your home to seek inspiration you really have to be alone, right?”
She arrived in Delhi a few weeks ago and mostly wanders around the city during the day, returning to her guest house at night. “I don’t like eating alone in the restaurants, so mostly, I buy some fruit or cake and have it in my room. A very small room.”
Ms Gkourometsiou confesses to a certain unhappiness but matter-of-factly, without putting on a sad face. “I haven’t smiled for a long time, and that’s a problem.” So I nudge her with a bit of banter; and she now recalls the kind of things that make her happy.
“I love the eyes of dogs, and I like watching monkeys… there’s a place in Jaipur where you see hundreds of them!”
The conversation moves to literature until it’s time for us to head off for another appointment. Ms Gkourometsiou smilingly bids us farewell, then lights another cigarette.
[This is the 144th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
A soul alone