City Moment – Two Houseless Friends, Turkman Gate
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
No doubt about it. They’re inseparable. Far away from their respective families, both Mumtaz and his canine friend have found common cause, living together through thick and thin. They are always seen together on this city sidewalk, be it day or night.
This morning has kicked off on a positive note, with a generous portion of chhole bhathure that a generous passerby has offered Mumtaz. The bearded man doesn’t hesitate tearing the bhathure into small pieces to share with Bhoora, a brown dog whose furry characteristics definitely set him apart from other strays. “Bhoora was very small when he simply turned up one day out of nowhere,” explains Mumtaz. “And he almost never leaves my side.”
He himself was abandoned by his family years ago after he lost his leg in a road accident in West Bengal. Somehow, and quite traumatically, he ended up finding his way to the footpath in Delhi’s Turkman Gate where he’s settled for good with his wooden crutches.
Mumtaz now feeds pieces of the bhathure to Bhoora without further ado. Neither a word nor grunt is exchanged between them though they both are making eye contacts with each other every now and then.
The friends are being silently watched by other homeless folks sitting in the immediate vicinity.
At length the breakfast is over. Mumtaz now reaches for a glass bottle he says contains whiskey, while Bhoora remains sitting. His head resting on Mumtaz’s arm.
I’ll be there for you…