Mission Delhi - Muhammed Gulzar, Sunder Nursery

Mission Delhi – Muhammed Gulzar, Sunder Nursery

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s evening. He’s lying sprawled along a grassy slope, against a background of yellow flowers. The sky is pitch blue. The air is breezy. His head is resting against his hand. He is…

Mission Delhi - Ashu Prashar, IP Extension & South Point Mall

Mission Delhi – Ashu Prashar, IP Extension & South Point Mall

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He is in his early 50s and wishes to write a book. He has already started preliminary work. “It will be a book on housekeeping ethics and style,” says Ashu Prashar, an assistant…

Mission Delhi - Raju, Near Yamuna Bazar

Mission Delhi – Raju, Near Yamuna Bazar

Homecoming dress. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Waste collector Raju’s bulging sack is huge. “It has all the trash I have collected today,” he says. Though it is only early morning in this market lane, it is already…

Mission Delhi - Devendra Kumar, Jacobpura

Mission Delhi – Devendra Kumar, Jacobpura

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The family is cutting costs wherever it can. Devendra Kumar no longer “drinks a peg or two” and his school-going sons have stopped demanding treats of samosas and burgers. “As for my Mrs,…

Mission Delhi - Shah Hasan, Bhalswa Dairy

Mission Delhi – Shah Hasan, Bhalswa Dairy

Homecoming dress. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] So much has changed in just a few months. Auto rickshaw driver Shah Hasan barely manages to register the individuality of his customers anymore. “They’re always in masks…. a series of…

Mission Delhi - Veena Mathur, Sector 51

Mission Delhi – Veena Mathur, Sector 51

Homecoming dress. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Wow, she speaks such free-flowing Hindi! Now, this might sound like an awkward compliment in the Hindi-speaking Delhi region. But then Hindi is not Veena’s first language. “Main Tamil Nadu ki…

Mission Delhi - Pappu, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Pappu, Central Delhi

Homecoming dress. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He’s shining brightly. Pappu is wearing trousers whose bright shade is difficult to determine—is it some sort of brown or mustard color, or brownish-mustard, or something else entirely. Doesn’t matter. The…

Mission Delhi - Preeti Sachdeva, Devilal Colony

Mission Delhi – Preeti Sachdeva, Devilal Colony

Lost world. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] She would do facial, manicure, pedicure, haircut and many other things in a space she created all by herself. But the dreamworld has ended. She finally shut down her beauty parlour…

Mission Delhi - Arman, Sadar Bazar

Mission Delhi – Arman, Sadar Bazar

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Despite living without a house in a tough city like Delhi, despite having to brave every day the dangerous times of the coronavirus pandemic, fruit seller Arman makes sure to have beauty in…

Mission Delhi - Nazma, New Palam Vihar

Mission Delhi – Nazma, New Palam Vihar

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It all began with the bicycle, all those years ago, in Saharanpur town in UP. She was just 8. “Actually it started with the 25 paise Babu (father) would give me every day,”…