City Notice – Important Milestone, Mission Delhi
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla has reached a significant landmark. Very soon I will be sharing the 100th portrait of my Mission Delhi project.
Long time ago I had started this series. I had written:
You don’t understand a city by its buildings and bazaars, but by its people. That’s why you cannot take in the entire Delhi in one lifetime – we have 13 million souls here. The Delhi Walla plans to make portraits of one per cent of this 8-digit figure, that is 1, 30, 000 Delhiwallas. Each portrait will have at least one photograph of the person along with a peek into his life. By the time I finish the project (just assuming), the looks and the lives of most people I will photograph and profile is bound to change. You may wonder then, what is the point? Well, people are not ruins. They evolve over the years. Trying to sketch a person at a moment in his/her life is not to mummify him/her, but to get a sense of the city, his/her city. So I will search for people like you. You can be anyone. You may be living in a Defence Colony barsati or in a Seelampur shanty. You may be from Bihar or Kerala. You may be a vice chancellor. You may be a prostitute. You may be a rich man’s daughter. You may be a housewife. You may be bisexual. You may be asexual. I’m interested in you all. I want to portray all of you. But one lakh and thirty thousand portraits… possible? Inshallah. God willing.
Proust willing, I have done 99 portraits. Soon, I will share the 100th portrait with you. Hope to meet you too on this journey.
This is a great venture, Mayank! May you live long enough to complete it! Your sketches are always like great paintings, made with a lot of soul and passion. While working on these live sketches, you enrich these peoples’ lives with that special something that helps them evolve in ways that they could have never imagined earlier. Best of luck!
Dear Ms Chatterjee,
You are very kind. Thank you.
It’s a brilliant project. And beautiful portraits. Hope you can publish them as a compilation.
Thank you, Ms Guha. While publishing these portraits into a book is not the point, some of these portraits were actually made into a book. You may get your copy here:
That is a very good idea. It would be a modern Murraqa (album).
Koochey nahin dehli ke, awraaq-e mussavir hain
Jo shakl nazar aayi, tasweer nazar aayi
“proust willing..” love it, keep up the good work, delhiwalla!
Thank you, Mr Lee.
Bravo, Mayank! You are Delhi contemplating itself.
Naushirvan, I suppose you are not being sarcastic. Thank you.
Lol, no I’m not being sarcastic.
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