City Moment – Bicycle Couple, Central Delhi
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It takes them the better part of one hour to arrive home by bicycle after their long day as public park gardeners. Malti Devi sits on the back carrier while her husband Naresh Kumar does the peddling.
But, an obvious question. Isn’t this exhausting for a man in his late 40s?
Mr Kumar shrugs. “It’s been our routine for 10 years, and I’m used to it.” This may well attest to his fit figure.
The longtime couple arrived in New Delhi a decade ago after working as field hands for rich farmers in their village in Jalaun, UP. “We wanted to improve our situation and raise our three children in a land of opportunities,” explains Ms Devi.
She’s descended from a family where women have traditionally worked at home, “but that’s not possible here in Delhi,” she says. “The household these days cannot be run on just one person’s salary.”
This evening the cycle is weighed down with bags on both sides of the handlebar. One bag contains their gardening tools and the other a lunch box.
Ms Devi’s arm now rests on her husband’s shoulder as the bicycle joins evening traffic. Upon reaching home in Taimur Nagar, Mr Kumar will rest for a bit, while Ms Devi immediately starts cooking dinner for the family. Meanwhile, it’s a beautiful moment.
Those who commute together live together