Mission Delhi - Masooban, Chelmsford Road

Mission Delhi – Masooban, Chelmsford Road

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A turbaned artist is beating the nagada. Another is playing the shehnai. Both performers are directing their music straight into Masooban’s ear. Their solo audience…

Mission Delhi - Rukhsana, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Rukhsana, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The road is teeming with afternoon traffic. The pavement, here in central Delhi, has a small plastic mat sprawled along it. A child is sitting…

Mission Delhi - Balvindra, Gurgaon

Mission Delhi – Balvindra, Gurgaon

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It does resemble something familiar, something that is occasionally featured as a curiosity piece in travel magazines. Oh yes, it looks like one of those…

Mission Delhi - Muhammed Sabir, Near Ashram

Mission Delhi – Muhammed Sabir, Near Ashram

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is an afternoon in the heatwave. The road doesn’t have much traffic. A man is riding a cart. The cart is loaded with long,…

Mission Delhi - Fajru Rahman, Near Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children

Mission Delhi – Fajru Rahman, Near Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] His pants are torn. His shirt is blackened with dirt. He matter-of-factly points out these facts. Fajru Rahman is sitting on a rickshaw (not his)…

Mission Delhi - Karua, Meethapur

Mission Delhi – Karua, Meethapur

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] There’s a saying in Hindi—baal ki khaal ukharna, to peel off the skin of the hair. That’s what this grey-haired man is upto, on a…

Mission Delhi - Suresh, Sector 14, Gurgaon

Mission Delhi – Suresh, Sector 14, Gurgaon

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He walks to the black dog here on a pavement in Gurgaon’s sector 14. The dog turns his head towards him, and wags his tail….

Mission Delhi - Om Prakash, Opposite Civil Hospital

Mission Delhi – Om Prakash, Opposite Civil Hospital

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] No customers are coming to Pandit Om Prakash. The astrologer’s pavement stall is very modest, but a longtime landmark in the area, here in Gurgaon,…

Mission Delhi - Bharati, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Bharati, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] Bharati is 24. She lives in Delhi with husband, Ravi, who is 27, and their son, Bhupen, who is 3. Her other son lives with…

Mission Delhi - Ram Bran, Hazrat Nizamuddin West

Mission Delhi – Ram Bran, Hazrat Nizamuddin West

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is almost midnight. The neighbourhood groceries have closed for the day. The area’s sole eatery too has downed its shutters. The three attendants at…