City Life – Fakirs’ Corner, North Delhi
The fakir anthem.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The jagged folksy sort of a song is effortlessly streaming into the evening darkness, here on a sidewalk in north Delhi. The lyrics appear to be in Bengali.
But who is singing it and where?
Just then a passing car throws its beam on five men huddled beside a wall. One of them turns out to be the singer. He immediately quiets down on spotting The Delhi Walla.
“We are all disabled, as you can see,” he says, switching into Hindi.
Submerged in shadows, the men look like figures from some renaissance-era painting. One of them says, “We are fakirs.” The man, who was singing, interjects, saying enigmatically, “We make our own songs… the one you were hearing is about our life… we are describing ourselves as flowers with no address… ”
Suddenly, a man who hasn’t spoken so far utters out melodiously in Hindi as if reciting a poem, “They may crush us with their feet but we will still bloom like the lotus…”
The singer frowns, shaking his head, “No, no, that’s another song!”
A long pause follows until another of these men speaks up. “Who are we are? Nothing… Aaj Ghaziabad, kal Allahabad (today Ghaziabad, tomorrow Allahabad.)”
Then they urge me to leave them alone.