Mission Delhi – Muhammed Akbar, Lutyens’ Delhi
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
He finds it difficult to sleep at night, which is understandable.
“How can I?” says autorickshaw driver Muhammed Akbar.
Driving his auto through the leaves-strewn avenues of Lutyens’ Delhi, Mr Akbar opens up about his life, in particular the gory incident that changed its course around two years back — his elder daughter was kidnapped and her body found the next afternoon close to the family home in east Delhi’s Gautampuri. Police are still on the lookout for the murderer, he says.
Meantime, life must carry on, “and particularly for the sake of our younger daughter.”
As an 8th standard student, she’s almost never left alone, always accompanied to her school and back by one of her parents. “We don’t encourage her to play outdoors— we’re too scared,” says Mr Akbar, 42. They do strive to give her as normal a childhood as possible. “It was very difficult for her after what happened. She was terrified,” he recalls. “After all, she’s a child and a shy one at that.” Her caring parents do facilitate numerous outings for the teenager, including tuition classes she attends every evening.
Now, Mr Akbar smiles faintly. “I’m always a bit shocked when I discover I’m smiling. But, you know, my daughter has an ambition. She wants to be a sarkari afsar (government officer).”
[This is the 193rd portrait of Mission Delhi project]