Mission Delhi – Mohammed Jamal, New Seemapuri
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
His smile is so radiant that it almost seems tangible. As though you could hold that smile in your hands like a flower.
Upon hearing such an assessment, auto rickshaw driver Mohammed Jamal smiles again. “Yes, people always tell me how beautiful my smile is.” And he invariably responds by suggesting that “all credit goes to the blessing of the God.”
There’s another reason for the unique smile, he says. It has to do with his teeth, according to him. “Some of my teeth are very long. And that makes the smile more noticeable.”
Mr Jamal, who has been an auto driver for 40 years, does clarify that his life is not one long trip in happiness. He still feels the absence of his wife, Zahida Begum, who passed away some 20 years ago following an illness. “She, too, loved my smile, and sometimes told me I looked good when I smiled.”
His friends always expect to witness the great smile, “but generally I only smile from my heart. At this very moment I have no problems in life, so you’ll only see happiness on my face.”
A native of Jharkhand, he lives in East Delhi’s New Seemapuri with his son. Smiling evidently has no relationship with genes: “My son rarely smiles, but he takes very good care of me and loves me very much.”
[This is the 249th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
An auto driver with a stunning smile