Mission Delhi – Rajkumar, A Central Delhi Pavement
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla could simply walk past him. That would be easy, too easy.
But those badly bandaged toes set me thinking. What’s happened here? I also notice two rings on his fingers, which could mean there’s a family somewhere.
Slowly opening his eyes, the gentleman introduces himself as Rajkumar, explaining that he was walking around the other day without chappals — “and I stepped on toota kaanch (broken glass).” Some good Samaritan in a gurdwara dressed the wounds.
Mr Rajkumar goes on to say that he’s a tuberculosis patient, regularly receiving treatment at a government hospital.
But… why is he lying on the pavement?
“Well, I’m a beggar,” he explains, as a matter of fact.
Mr Rajkumar arrived in Delhi a decade ago from a village in Maharashtra where he has a wife, two sons “who work”, and elderly parents.
Why not just return to the village instead of suffering in Delhi? Wouldn’t that be more logical?
“I did go back for Diwali,” he replies, and then lifts his legs, revealing a pair of red slippers. “Somebody gave them to me this morning! May he be blessed.”
Now Mr Rajkumar closes his eyes once again. I finally walk away, marvelling at my two fellow citizens who briefly paused to care for a stranger’s injured feet.
[This is the 145th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
An injured foot in the big city