Mission Delhi – Muhammed Shamim, Central Delhi
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The life of paan seller Muhammed Shamim has been touched by a very long and beautiful friendship.
“I’m talking about Shahid,” with whom he grew up together in a Bihar village.
The two boys studied in the same class in the village school, spending lots of time together. Both came from farming families—though Shahid’s was wealthier—and would also help out as extra farmhands.
“But then I skipped school for a few days to help my father in the fields. And when I returned to school I discovered that Shahid had been promoted to a higher class.” They could no longer spend their school hours together. Shahid made new friends and moved on, while Mr Shamim, he says, got so depressed losing the friendship that he quit school altogether—leaving for Delhi to start a new life.
A few years later, he launched the paan kiosk here in central Delhi, started a family, but still couldn’t quite forget the loss of the friendship.
One day he spotted a man walking past the kiosk who somehow looked familiar. “He was Shahid, no less!”
The friends hugged. Shahid was visiting in Delhi and later returned to the home village, “but we stay in touch on our mobiles!” Finding his old friend has, quite simply, “made me a boy again,” smiles Mr Shamim, looking happily at his hands dyed red with paan stains.
[This is the 230th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Friendship, lost & found