Mission Delhi – Naina Singh, Central Delhi
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Loneliness is often feared. And especially when living on your very own in a crowded city like Delhi.
But cleaning woman Naina Singh says she’s fine with it, insisting that, in fact, she loves being independent.
“I feel wonderful, like an empress,” she declares with a broad smile, as she takes it easy under a shading tree here in Central Delhi.
Having just finished her shifts in two households, Ms Singh now reflects on the idea of loneliness. Her husband, Vijay, died of a heart attack a few years back, and living the solitary life has indeed called for years of “training,” she avers.
Now giggling, Ms Singh shows us her arm tattooed with her own name and the late spouse. “And then, you know, I’ve got friends who provide me with great khushi (happiness). I also have my parents who live right here in Delhi.” Well-meaning friends had earlier urged she move in with her parents; insisting that life is dangerous for a woman without a man. But Ms Singh prefers having a room of her own.
“I pay 1,500 rupees monthly rent which is manageable,” she says contentedly, toying with the gold chain around her neck: “I just love buying artificial jewellery!”
But when guidance in life is needed, Ms Singh relies on one steady Being—Lord Shiva. “He’s always with me. He’ll never let me be lonely.”
[This is the 220th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The art of being happily lonesome