City Life – Home Sweet Home, Zakir Husain Marg

City Life – Home Sweet Home, Zakir Husain Marg

Inside the walls.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

One afternoon The Delhi Walla visits Muhammed Israel’s residence. In his 40s, Mr Israel lives with his wife and three sons on Zakir Husain Marg in central Delhi.

A rickshaw puller, Mr Israel has spread out two blankets on the pavement. This is his home. The only luxury items are a hand fan and a baby-feeding bottle. The clothes, says Mr Israel, are packed in a trunk hidden at a secured place under the Oberoi Hotel flyover.

The family is having its lunch, though the youngest son, a seven-month-old baby, is asleep. Mr Israel’s wife has cooked dal, rice and a crispy dish of bitter gourd. The eldest son is eating from the father’s plate, while Mrs Israel has her own plate.

Mr Israel says that he lived in a “proper cement-and-brick house” with his extended family in south Delhi’s Okhla. He moved out because “there were tensions in life.”

Carrying customers on his rickshaw from morning to evening, Mr Israel takes an hour-long break daily for lunch. His children are not enrolled in any school. On his future plans, Mr Israel says, “I do not think we will be leaving this place soon. I’m resigned to my situation.”

Without the walls