Mission Delhi – Vinod’s Rani Devi, West Delhi
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
His lunch spot is always the same. It’s a table for one, in the snug passengers’ seat of his auto-rickshaw now safely parked along a West Delhi road. Removing his sandals, Vinod sits comfortably cross-legged and opens his lunch box to discover raw banana sabzi, and five rotis, all prepared by his wife in their one-room home in Azadpur.
“Rani gets up at 5am to prepare plenty of food, including breakfast when I wake up at 8.” The breakfast spread is exactly the same as his lunch, with plenty more to spare back home when their three kids return from school in the afternoon.
“I like everything she prepares. She works so hard,” says Vinod, 31, who leaves home at 10am for a 12-hour day on the road. He never eats out, “because home food is safest, less spicy and oily… and cheap.” The couple shares many dreams, usually involving their children, but Vinod himself has one particular aspiration. “Rani Devi is cooking on a single burner. Money is tight, but I hope to very soon get a two-burner range to ease her day’s work.”
Finishing his lunch, there’s still one roti left. Will he throw it away?
“Wouldn’t ever do that with food prepared by Rani. I’ll have it as my evening nashta (snack) with chai.”
[This is the 209th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Flavours of Rani Devi’s daily life