Mission Delhi – Geeta Rani, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is so simple to sell household appliances in the bazaar. But it hasn’t been all that easy for Geeta Rani.
The 50-year-old stall owner in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazaar in the Greater Delhi Region has sloughed through her share of trials and challenges. “In the beginning, I would feel very odd sitting here,” says Ms Rani on a cloudy afternoon, perched on a wooden chair, her arms resting on her cash box. The lady’s cart is filled up with door locks, vegetable graters, kitchen knives, shoulder bags and many other everyday objects that make up one’s homely possessions.
Ms Rani’s shop was founded 50 years ago earlier by her father-in-law Milawa Ram. It was passed on to her husband, Yog Raj, who passed away in 2005, leaving her alone to raise their two school-going children. She took it upon herself to be the family’s bread winner and decided to run the store herself. “I had hardly been out of my home; I had never talked to strangers before… so it was very difficult in the beginning.”
Even more challenging was the periodic commutes she would make alone by train to Delhi’s wholesale markets to replenish her shop’s stock. And all this while, she was also performing her regular household chores. Ms Rani runs her establishment from 9am to 9pm. It was a routine of her life to leave for work after making breakfast and lunch, and to prepare dinner after returning home at night.
But life’s now a little easier.
“My daughter married in 2015 and my son two years later… he has a nice job. My bahu (daughter-in-law) gives me good breakfast, and hot dinner awaits me at night,” she says, smiling. “My children look after me very well.”
[This is the 231st portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Such a long journey