Home Sweet Home – Impermanent Housing, Vasundhara
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Vasundhara in Ghaziabad in the Greater Delhi Region is a cluster of residential towers. But this particular housing is too modest. The four homes share a common roof, and this roof is just a long sheet of tin supported on planks of plywood. The tin is made to lean against the concrete wall of an apartment building.
And this morning the inhabitants—they are daily wage labourers—are lounging outside their houses. The entrance to each home is curtained by empty rice sacks. The kitchens are outside in the open and consist of earthen stoves.
A light blue plastic is spread over the tin roof as protection from the rain. The covering is littered with all sorts of household stuff –buckets, jars, shoes and a yellow plastic helicopter. The last is the discard of a little girl in a yellow frock, she is frolicking around with a packet of Parle G biscuits.
While the labourers don’t want their names to be published, one of them reveals that they all belong to the same village in the Bundelkhand region of UP and have been living in Delhi for some years. “We keep moving from one locality to another in search of work,” says one of the women. Both men and women work at construction sites, but women also cook the meals every morning.
A few weeks ago, the labourers had set up their temporary habitat in East Delhi’s Nirman Vihar. “There is currently not much work available in Vasundhara,” says one of the men, his shy son hiding behind his back. “If there is no change in the situation, we will move to some other place.”
And then these houses will disappear.