Home Sweet Home – Mintu & Family, Delhi Footpaths
A family with dogs.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This industrious family of ragpickers manages to earn around 10,000 rupees every month, which they reckon is sufficient for themselves and their three dogs–Kaloo, Laloo and Julie.
But, on this warm February afternoon, Mintu and his cheerful family are just taking it easy, basking under the deliciously warm sun. Otherwise, they’re mostly patrolling Central Delhi avenues picking up discarded bottles. “We leave all our things on the pavement while foraging and our dogs look after them,” explains his wife Sabeeta. “They are our rakshaks (protectors).”
Along with their two sons, the couple has been living in the city for years, picking rags every day, with all family possessions crammed into a little cart—blankets and clothes along with utensils and a stove. The family is nothing if not highly flexible: accustomed to a gypsy-like existence in the thrall of the indifferent city which leaves them to get on with their work and daily lives without hindrance.
The Mintu household doesn’t hesitate moving about with considerable regularity, shifting their home from one footpath to the next. With evening now drawing nigh, there’s a chill in the air as the family carefully crosses the busy road with their cart while the three dogs follow them quietly. To wherever their new hearth and home will be tonight.
A houseless home