Mission Delhi – Peshkar Varma, Connaught Place
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Thin as a rail, Peshkar Varma ekes out a living by measuring the body weight of the well-nourished. At the close of his work day, he’ll have earned sufficient rupees for one meal only.
His occupation is straightforward. Here on Connaught Place pavement “perhaps one out of 20 passersby will stop to check their weight,” explains Mr Varma, 48. “It only costs 5 rupees.”
Every evening he purchases dal rice from the dhaba. That’s his daily meal. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to save anything from my daily earnings.”
As the clock approaches 8 pm he hasn’t yet passed the hundred rupee mark. But Mr Varma appeared undeterred or probably resigned, his head resting between his knees.
A migrant from UP, he was earning far more a few years ago, selling cold water from a refrigerated trolley. But then his gall bladder burst, he says. The doctor advised him to never again lift heavy loads.
This ruled out most job options for a migrant labourer, so Mr Varma walked around Delhi conducting a survey: Observing the kinds of jobs that might be conceivable.
One day he spotted a man with a weighing machine, “and that gave me a good idea! I’d buy one of them and go into business.”
Mr Varma leads a quiet life. His wife passed away when their son was only 17 months old. The lad is being raised by his grandfather in their home village in the Mirzapur District.
Mr Varma pauses. “As for me, I live alone.
[This is the 153rd portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Weight walla’s one-day meal