Mission Delhi - Mukesh the Chicken, Old Delhi

Mission Delhi – Mukesh the Chicken, Old Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] Most chickens are probably born equal, but some are definitely more equal than others. Case in point: Consider a particular chicken named Mukesh, who is…

Mission Delhi - Muhammed Akbar, Lutyens' Delhi

Mission Delhi – Muhammed Akbar, Lutyens’ Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] He finds it difficult to sleep at night, which is understandable. “How can I?” says autorickshaw driver Muhammed Akbar. Driving his auto through the leaves-strewn…

Mission Delhi - Savitri, Connaught Place

Mission Delhi – Savitri, Connaught Place

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] As a living landmark in Connaught Place, she has been selling fresh fruit as long as most patrons can remember. “It’s been about 40 years,”…

Mission Delhi - Sher Singh, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Sher Singh, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s pretty clear why some citizens end up as engineers, say, or maybe even beggars. But what about bird food sellers? For some 40 years…

Mission Delhi - Bansidhar Tewari, Daryaganj

Mission Delhi – Bansidhar Tewari, Daryaganj

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The bustling world of central Delhi’s Daryaganj is moving in high gear this late afternoon, but Bansidhar Tewari isn’t going anywhere at all. As a…

Mission Delhi - Muhammed Zikriya, Chitli Qabar

Mission Delhi – Muhammed Zikriya, Chitli Qabar

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] There’s no denying it. Muhammed Zikriya does miss having his own family. But at age 84 is happily reconciled to the good life he created….

Mission Delhi - Ajay, Connaught Place

Mission Delhi – Ajay, Connaught Place

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Shoeshine boy Ajay has a knack for marketing. For starters, his hairstyle is distinctive. The 10-year-old explains that he saw this style in a movie,…

Mission Delhi - Sanjeev Das, Gurgaon

Mission Delhi – Sanjeev Das, Gurgaon

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Sanjeev Das willingly exited from “the pointlessness of the ordinary world” about a decade ago and became a baba, an ascetic. He now travels the…

Mission Delhi - Rani, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Rani, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This is Rani’s 15th winter. She is wrapped in blankets and gunny sacks. The evening is chilly. She is quietly warming herself upon a coal-fired…

Mission Delhi - Babu Ram, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Babu Ram, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Babu Ram has been selling ice cream on Delhi streets since more than 40 years— which give him considerable space for reflection. “I’m trying to…