Mission Delhi – Kali Charan, Opposite Vyapar Kendra Market, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Sometimes you don’t need Freud to interpret a dream, or so it seems. Take Kali Charan. He is deep in sleep. May be this is his regular afternoon siesta.
The cycle mechanic’s home-cum-shop is on a pavement in Gurgaon, just across the road from Vyapar Kendra market. It comprises of just a plastic sheet spread over an iron bed. There’s no fan inside and at the moment it’s very hot and humid.
Now, Mr Charan is slowly opening his eyes.
“I was dreaming,” he confesses to The Delhi Walla, lazily turning around in the bed.
In his early 50s, Mr Charan begins to recall what he saw moments ago. “I was sitting with my mother on the charpai (bed)… at our home in Palwal… I was smoking a hookah and was talking to my two sons who were sitting on the floor,” he says.
Mr Kumar explains that Palwal isn’t far from Delhi and that he visits his family at least once every 20 days.
“I was talking to my sons in the dream and I was saying, ‘Kya hoga hamara (what will become of us)… for how long will I continue to work as a cycle mechanic… why this life…”
In the dream, his elder son, a undergraduate student, and the younger one, who is pursuing a diploma in mechanics, assured Mr Charan that things would turn for better and that one day they would find suitable jobs.
“Just at that point I woke up,” says Mr Charan with a slight smile, as if he is recollecting something that happened a long time ago.
Pouring a glass of water from an earthen pot, he mutters, “The good thing is that the dream was ending on a nice note.”
There are no customers at this hour, and soon afterwards, Mr Charan again closes his eyes.
[This is the 160th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
A dreamer’s dream
You’re the only journalist-writer who brings personality and identity and recognition and empathy to the otherwise nameless forgotten poor of the metropolis.
‘Kya hoga hamara’? This question, the bane of any under-resourced life, stood out in your narration. Thank you for covering the lives of those who are not the rich and the mighty.
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