Mission Delhi – Deen Dayal, Safdarjung Enclave
One of the one per cent in 13 million.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A firecracker goes up into the cold night sky and burst into a shower of sparkles. “That must be from a wedding celebration,” garbage collector Deen Dayal says. The Delhi Walla meets him on a Safdarjung Enclave pavement.
The 40-something Mr Dayal is standing beside two pungent-smelling trolleys filled up with rotting food, vegetable peels, eggshells, empty beer bottles, cardboard junk, and used sanitary napkins. “A MCD (Municipal Council of Delhi) truck will come to empty them.”
Mr Dayal arrived in Delhi more than a decade ago. He started by collecting garbage from individual households but now picks up only from street dustbins. Employed on a contract basis with a private firm that coordinates with the city’s municipal services, Mr Dayal earns Rs 3,000 monthly.
“My wife gets enough vegetables to cook, my children are able to attend the school,” he says.
Every morning at 7 am Mr Dayal leaves his two-room house in Jaitpur for Safdarjung Enclave. There he moves around in a pedaled wooden cart to gather the waste from various collection points. The day ends at 9 pm, unless he gets late, like tonight.
Mr Dayal used to grow dhaan and urad daal in his village in Uttar Pradesh. But picking the city’s refuse proved more attractive. “Here I’m sure to make money each month.” Still, life in the village had its advantages. “In Delhi, when you buy brinjals, you have no clue about their freshness. But in the village, you pluck them off from branches and immediately chop them into a subzi. Even the peas there taste different.” But Mr Dayal have no regrets. “The city’s regular income guarantees my children’s education.”
The garbage collector has six children: Sourabh, Radha, Roshni, Sachin, Shivam and Sonam.
“I want my children to study and work in offices.”
[This is the 11th portrait of the Mission Delhi project]
An honest living
For children’s education
Money is not bad
The trolley is full
Good luck, Mr Dayal
Good to see that there are some people like you who bring the hues of life of such people to the internet junta… there are NGOs, there are social workers but these only see the poors as masses. We need more MASs to portray the emotions, aspirations and struggle of our not so well off brethren! Kudos.ps: I am not being toady!
sad, but a very nice story, cheers,~ the window siller
waaaaaaaaalaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.u r unique MAN.dil hila deta hai kabhi kabhi.superb>GOD BLESS U
Wow! My interpretationThere is humility yet respectable honesty in Deen Dayal's eyes……EPITOMISES LOVE FOR HIS WIFEHe might not even know what V-day means but he epitomises the spirit of V-day when he says I will cook on the road side and wont bother my wife late in the night.CLARIFY OF GOALSDespite being illeterate he is crystal clear as to what he wants (work in the city for the betterment of kids) and does not want from life and for his kids, doesnt want kids to do same work.COUPLED WITH HARD WORKHe works hard 7am till 9pm, we complain about 40 hours a week workload.WITH EXCELLENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENTThough he may live on a meagre income in an expensive city , he maintains his connections with his roots, villege and kin folks, keeping him grounded, giving him identity rather than loosing oneself in the crowd of 13million people.TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLSHe maximises time by utilising waiting-time to cook for himself.SELF CONFIDENCE WITH HUMILITYThere is a fineline between self confidence and arrogance. He does not come acorss someone who will beg you cuz he stands tall with pride yet no ego as he oozes humilty. HEROS LIKE DEEN DAYAL ARE ALL ROUND USHe puts us to shame. Gandhi &Mandela are too higher, hence unreletable. Heros are all around, if only we look around. Deen Dayal could be a guy we may not notice while we walk around, we take his work for granted. He is inspirational, fighting his odds with clarity and sense of purpose, yet content and happy. POINT TO PONDERThink of dignity of labour and honest work. OUR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYNext time when we come across someone like him, do not sneer, do not ignore, speak nicely to Rickshawwala, treat your domestic helper (they are not servants) nicely, carry your own plates to the kitchen, get your own water, treat the road cleaner nicely, thank or smile at them, ruffle the hair of lil boy or girl who brings chai for you at Dhaba (better still report Dhabawala to authorities for violation of child labour and notify relevant NGO). Our beloved ex-President Dr Abdul kalam said "Dream, dream, dream, because dreams lead to thoughts, thoughts lead to action". Please act.RIGHT OPPORTUNITYIts is heart wrecking that we have such talent, given the right socio-economical opportunity in terms education, guidance his life coupled with his honesty and talent, Deen Dayal could have had a different life. Look at your boss or your father's boos or your CEO, Deen Dayal could have been him or her (gender equality). We are not necessarily better skilled than him, we simply had better opportunities. OUR LEADERSHIP ACTIONSLook around within your workplace or family, nurture people junior than you and give them opportunities so that they can realise their full potential, this will bring out leadership qualities in you while giving you immense satisfaction of making a difference in small way.THANKSThanks to MAS for highlighting to out desensitised souls with such heart stirring stories.Thanks to Deen Dayal for inadvertantly being setting an example for us to follow (Priority for loved one, clarity of goal and sense of purpose, maintain relations and not be selfish in rat race, selfconfidence with humilty yet content with no bitterness.Thanks to all those who read thus far cuz this rather lenghty.Even bigger thanks to those who will act on some of it :)Best luck and god bless. Taatha AastuCheers mates!VishalPS: Reader is an ordinary geek with no experience in NGOs, little experience in volenter work and journalism, hence not qualified to write the above so take it with the pinch of salt. Currently based out of Singapore, employed as Regional Director for Asia for IT MNC and pursuing Doctor of Business Admin in Cross-Cultural Leadership Effectiveness from Univ of South Australia.
@ MAS: Loved your multi-layered narration, your stories are like Payaz (layers of onion).1. Introducing us to garbage, we too can smell the pungentness and yukky senitary napkins, rotting organic stuff. An ordinary jornalist would have missed the description of garbage (equaly important to enagage and make reader feel we are there and can smell it too)…………2. Drawing us into his family life, intorudcing us to his wife and kids in a subtle indirect manner.3. TO his daily routine…..4. To his thoughts, who he is5. You always amaze us by finding stories that we could not even think of yet you enage and satisfy reader, 6. HUNGER FOR MORE – YOU KEEP US COMING BACK FOR MOREEven then you leave us wondering, wanting for more, making us think, your story stays with the reader a long after we have finshed reading e.g. what did he cook, where did he do washing, did he wash his hands…..is it really possible that he can manage a family in Delhi with just Rs3000 per month?
i'm daily reader of this blog,mayank you have changed my vision towards life.Last many days i'm thinking to write a true story,but i could not write,i found you-who has given me perception and way to write.Thanks Mayank.
One of the best blogs I have read ever ! ..keep up the good work man!
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