Mission Delhi – Bano, Hazrat Sarmad Shahid’s Dargah
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Over the last few days, she’s experienced a pain in her legs; and finally decided to get a tube of medication from a government hospital after standing in a very long line.
“It’ll be ok,” smiles Bano, a homeless woman who always starts her day with prayers at this Sufi shrine, right across the Jama Masjid mosque. Now in her 60s, she came to Delhi years and years ago from Bihar. She’s lived on the same footpath since then.
But Bano doesn’t think of herself as being alone, out there on the streets. “You must understand, I know all the good people on my pavement,” she tells The Delhi Walla.
“They’re like my parivaar (family), and we do look after each other.”
She pulls in some rupees by washing dishes in nearby households. Otherwise, the lady asks very little of life. Her sole possessions consist of a toothbrush, soap, water bottle and a comb, all in her small handbag. And that’s it—apart from a spare salwar suit now drying on a clothesline in a public park.
Now she closes her eyes for a few minutes in this hushed dargah of Hazrat Sarmad Shahid. At length, Bano plucks a rose petal from the floor, puts it into her bag, and quietly slips away into the boisterous world beyond.
[This is the 170th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Alone but not lonely