Mission Delhi – Kavita, Sector 14, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Isn’t it ironic how the most domestic and intimate enterprises of life sometimes take place in everybody’s sight? Take this one: A young mother swinging her baby to sleep at a roadside camp in Gurgaon’s Sector 14 in the National Capital Region. The little one is swaddled in heaps of clothes. Her swing is tied to a string charpoy. The mother is sitting some distance from the bed, gently rocking the baby under the swing, thanks to a rope attached to it.
“We are lohar,” she says, referring to her family of wandering blacksmiths, explaining, “This is our tradition …. “Gesturing towards the baby, she says, “This is how my mother too would put me to sleep when I was of my girl’s age.”
Kavita is 22. This is her second child. Ishika was born about a month ago. Her other child, a son, is two years old. “Rishabh is back at home.”
Kavita lives in the nearby Basai village with her husband, and is visiting her parents’ home for the day. “My husband’s name is Kaale but he is actually gora,” she says, blushing, as she explains that despite his name, her man is fair-skinned, not dark. “He too is a lohar… we all are lohar… we make kitchen utensils. Our forefathers did the same thing. This kaam (work) runs in our blood.”
The little girl is deep asleep.
Kavita now stops swinging, gets up, walks to her baby and uncovers her face. “I don’t want my children to do our work. I want to send them to school,” says the woman who herself had never had the chance to step inside a classroom.
Kavita confesses of secretly desiring both her children to become doctors because “doctors are lucky people… they heal people and then get blessings from the healed.”
She then picks up the baby and embraces her. The baby continues to sleep.
[This is the 184th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The young mother’s dream