Mission Delhi – Muhammed Israil, Jacobpura, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Furiously transforming cities like Gurgaon in the Greater Delhi Region are full of promises and draw hopefuls from across the country who want to build a better future than the unsatisfying present they have in their towns and villages. Such migrants usually happen to be young.
But Muhammed Israil, a manager-cum-tailor in a small single-counter clothing establishment, is an exception. He is 64 and arrived in the so-called Futuristic City about a decade ago. He was well into his 50s.
“One has problems and compulsions that obliges one to do unlikely things,” he says, adding, “Otherwise, in UP, who would go all the way to Gurgaon in search of work at my advanced age.”
Mr Israil has been doing “tailory” since he was 13 in hometown Kanpur. He inherited the profession from his father. Almost all his life he helped rustle out parts of “plane furniture” for a firm that would supply upholstery for aircrafts of the Indian Air Force. Eventually, the contract changed hands and “our work ended.”
Mr Israil started a leather business “but the partner stabbed me in the back and I was totally ruined.”
It was then that an elderly acquaintance, tailor Sanju Master, suggested him to make a beginning in Gurgaon as a “ladies tailor”.
“But I knew nothing about ladies clothing.”
The kind friend trained him in the essentials in four days flat and today Mr Israil singlehandedly manages an entire shop in Jacobpura.
With a pink inch tape casually strung around his shoulders, much like a doctor’s stethoscope, the tailor says, “There must be many migrants who end up disappointed after shifting to big cities but I found success in a whole new life.”
[This is the 225th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The making of a Ladies Tailor