Mission Delhi – Kashi Ram Sharma, Khan Market
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is 9 pm at the teeming Khan Market and the fashionable crowds are still in abundance, heading for chic restaurants or maybe somewhere else.
Very few are likely to spot this elderly gentleman selling cloth handkerchiefs.
Carefully wrapped in transparent plastic, they’re priced at only 30 rupees apiece. But that depends on whether Kashi Ram Sharma can find a customer at all. Not everybody at the super-luxurious Khan Market is out seeking a handkerchief at this late hour near Front Lane.
“I do need some money to carry on,” explains Mr Sharma, who says he lives alone in a modest dwelling nearby. “My wife is gone and the daughters are married.”
Staring at the ground, he falls silent; his face submerged in darkness even as the market behind him is aglow. Mr Sharma does appear rather elderly to be a salesman on the go, but he swiftly replies: “I was born in 1940” while World War II was raging.
It’s getting late, and Mr Sharma hasn’t eaten for hours. He now takes out a box from his bag that will constitute a kind of dinner. “It was given to me some minutes ago by two girls… I don’t know what it is…”
The package is of a Khan Market bakery. And now the gentleman excuses himself and moves along the lane in search of a customer or two.
[This is the 181st portrait of Mission Delhi project]
A hawker in Khan Market