Mission Delhi – Yogendra Yadav, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s amazing to discover the kinds of extraordinary people encountered on the road.
He looks like any other person walking down the street here in Gurgaon’s Sushant Lok. Though he does stand out in the manner he is carrying his belongings. The two plastic bags are tied around the ends of a wooden stick that is precariously perched on his shoulder, making him look like one of those ascetic pilgrims who walk barefoot from one remote temple to another in the Himalayas.
“I’m a dancer,” says Yogendra Yadav. In his late 50s, the gentleman keeps down his possessions on the street and quietly, unprompted, begins to show the items of his trade.
He takes out a small damru (drum), from one of the bags and then pulls down his pants. He is wearing a flowery lungi underneath. “This is my dance costume.”
Mr Yadav says that he dances to the music of bhajans. “My aim is to please people’s heart… I walk all across the land, dancing and singing to Radha-Krishna’s devotional songs.”
He doesn’t charge any money. Neither does he accept any monetary donation. “I only accept bhojan (food)… I don’t need anything else to survive.”
Mr Yadav isn’t really an ascetic though. He is possessive about his “shringar box”, for instance. It is a small plastic container with a blue washing soap and two bangles inside.
He also shows his many finger rings. One of them is engraved with his name.
Talking of his early life in native Bihar, he recalls his wife who “died during the floods… her heart broke down when a dam was washed away.”
There are children back home.
“They are grown-up people now… so I remain mast (carefree) …. I go around the world dancing and singing and telling people no harmful things …. ”
He then walks on, no longer looking as ordinary as other folks on the road.
Dancer of the road
[This is the 178th portrait of Mission Delhi project]