Mission Delhi – Muhammed Salman, Bazaar Lane
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A kind of sartorial splendour enhances Muhammed Salman’s daily runs on his rickshaw. This morning he’s peddling through a Central Delhi bazaar, elegantly dressed in white.
It helps attract additional customers, though at some cost: He’s got to set aside 800 rupees every month to get the garments washed by a dhobi. Not that Mr Salman has a choice in this matter. Lacking access to a bathroom, he lives on a plot of footpath outside the Civic Centre.
He doesn’t hesitate disposing his pantshirts “when they become too filthy to be used.” And other difficulties can arise. The clothes he’s now wearing have been laundered twice, “but the dhobis aren’t careful. See this stain on the sleeve? It first appeared after being washed!” His friends are often awed by his style, comparing him to the film star with whom he shares a name. “They call me the other Salman Khan!” With a chuckle, he also confesses that the same friends also often mock him as “Mara hua Tiger (dead tiger)”
in reference to actor Salman Khan’s movie Tiger Zinda Hai whose title literally translates to ‘Tiger is alive’.
Other aspects in his daily life too have offered him considerable satisfaction. Mr Salman has already performed a service he promised his late parents — by ensuring the marriages of his three sisters. “I’m living the way I choose,” he avers, “and I feel free to buy the sort of clothes I actually want.”
[This is the 183rd portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The white suit sartorialist