Mission Delhi – Shivani, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
These days, many of us find friends on Facebook. Here is how little Shivani made one in a Gurgaon park in the Graeter Delhi Region.
On this pleasant sunny afternoon, Shivani is swinging on a seesaw. Her friend is sitting on the other side.
With each movement of the long narrow plank of metal, Shivani goes up, the friend goes down. Then the other way round.
But the friend can’t speak. It’s just a stack of bricks Shivani has put on the other side to enable her to play.
“I came up with the idea some days ago,” the little girl confirms. She says her parents are labourers and have been contracted to work on road repair just outside the park. “Mummy comes to check on me after every few minutes.”
Currently, Shivani is spending her waking hours in the park. “But I go to school when I’m home.” Her mother, who arrives shortly afterwards, explains that their home is in Firozabad in UP, but “very often we come to Dilli (region) for labour work because good earnings aren’t possible in the village.”
Shivani is the youngest of five siblings. Even so, “I like playing alone… nobody fights with me and I always win in my games.”
When she feels hungry, she walks over to her parents who get her roti or paratha from a street-side food cart.
While on the seesaw, the bricks suddenly slip and fall down on the dusty ground. Shivani gets off, carefully arranges the bricks back on the seesaw and again recreates her friend.
[This is the 283rd portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The art of making a friend