City Life – Home Sweet Home, Mathura Road

City Life – Home Sweet Home, Mathura Road

Inside the walls.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

One late morning The Delhi Walla enters the home of Zeenat Begum. In her late 30s, she lives on Mathura Road with her father-in-law, two children, and a friend.

“I ask for money at the traffic light,” she says. “We ran away from her home in Bihar a few years ago. There was nothing there.”

Ms Begum’s house occupies a part of the pavement and looks as messy as a Middle Income Group apartment. A toy car is parked against a pile of bed sheets. A bundle of clothes are dumped on a stack of folded bed sheets. A plastic jar of refined flour stands beside a packet of detergent powder. An empty plastic bottle of Bisleri mineral water leans against a canister of Kartik Pure Mustard Oil. There is a blue plastic bucket filled with cooking utensils, and a milk vessel on a red gas stove. There is also a stone grinder to make chutneys.

One decorative item that immediately catches the eye is a set of two plastic roses; they are tied around the metal fence that separates the pavement from a park. Ms Begum’s friend is sitting beside the flowers. He says he is without a job and that he has no plans to look for one.

Ms Begum is sitting down on the pavement floor, with her young son and her father-in-law.

But what’s that little bundle covered with a piece of cloth?

“This is my younger child,” says Ms Begum. “He is sleeping.”

Just then a leaf falls on the child.

Crammed with things