Mission Delhi – Rani, Central Delhi
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This is Rani’s 15th winter. She is wrapped in blankets and gunny sacks. The evening is chilly. She is quietly warming herself upon a coal-fired stove.
Rani has a quiet nature and doesn’t really chat with people. Could this be because she is a goat?
Rani belongs to a Central Delhi kebab seller — the details of her life are narrated by the elderly seller’s son. He is skewing the mutton seekh kebabs on iron rods.
Rani was born in the kebab shop itself. Her mother was purchased many years ago from Haryana. The mother is dead and so are Rani’s five brothers. They were sacrificed over the years, during the festival of Bakra Eid. Rani escaped the sacrifice because the kebab shop owner has grown too attached to her. She is loved so much that, unlike many other goats, she is never leashed. During the day, Rani hops along the locality whenever she has the urge for a little wandering. She returns to the shop on her own.
Rani is washed daily with shampoo—twice a day in the summer, and with hot water in the cold months. She is given channa and jau for her meals—they are boiled for her because she has lost all her teeth, a natural consequence of ageing.
The kebab shop doubles as Rani’s bedroom after it closes at midnight. Since it is cold these days, a “bada walla electric heater” is kept for her comfort. Rani wakes up at 11 in the morning.
[This is the 186th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The biography of a loved one