Mission Delhi – Mister Suneel, Ramleela Maidan
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Frowning, he mercilessly crosses a sentence with his blue-ink pen.
The Delhi Walla meets the young unshaven man one morning outside Ramleela Maidan, the sprawling exhibition ground in central Delhi. When I ask about the book in his hands, he says in a whisper: “I’m Mister Suneel.”
He responds to all my queries with the same response.
Mister Suneel seems to have no substantial possessions except a blanket and this paperback. Its pages are scribbled with illegible jottings. The cover picture shows blood-stained hands, an ash tray and a glass half-filled with whiskey. The book is titled The Case of the Silent Partner.
Looking tense with nervous energy, Mister Suneel raises his eyes upwards, scanning the grey winter sky, as if searching for an elusive truth beyond the scope of this mystery novel.
Pinching his lips, he returns to the book, and encircles a word. He keeps staring at it. Perhaps a great meaning lies just beneath this word and all that one needs to do is to contemplate the curves of its alphabets.
After a minute of intense attentiveness, Mister Suneel’s face shows disappointment.
He turns to the next page, optimistically.
[This is the 79th portrait of Mission Delhi project]