City Life – Two Vagabonds, Mathura Road
Living on the road.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A pavement on Central Delhi’s Mathura Road recently received two new residents. Shera has a long white beard and is always dressed in black, while Raja is a light brown pup.
A homeless wanderer travelling from one city to another, Shera confesses that he has not much attachment to the world except for his Raja. All day long they sit on the footpath, with Raja tied to an eye-catching pink leash.
“When he gets too close to the road, I pull him back by the lagaam (leash),” says Shera. “The poor boy is just three months old, what does he know of life and death? The traffic is so dangerous…”
Shera found Raja in the city of Moradabad. “I met Rani there… Raja is her son… Rani was hit by an auto rickshaw…”
The poor pup was just seven days old when his mother died. Two of his five siblings too have passed on to the other world. “When I was leaving Moradabad, Raja tagged along with me,” says Shera. “He has grown very fond of me.”
At night, they both sleep on separate mattresses but “sometimes Raja jumps in my bed when he feels cold.”
There’s no certainty for how long Mathura Road will host the two friends. “We will go away when our time is up,” says Shera.
Raja and Shera