Mission Delhi – Ghisa Ram, Regal Cinema Building
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This friendly doorman at the colonial-era Connaught Place is frequently photographed by passing shoppers. And for good reason. His moustache is grand.
This week, Ghisa Ram celebrated his 94th birthday (his Aadhaar I-card says he was born in 1925 though he believes it to be 1918). Stationed behind the glass door at a men’s clothing showroom in the Regal Cinema Building, he frankly looks far too fit to be that old. “But I need to go right on working to keep my body tuned,” he chuckles.
Mr Ram took up the job after retiring as a “rat catcher” for the municipal corporation here in Delhi. And projects such a strong impression, like some local landmark, that an artist was inspired enough to render a sculpture of his heavily mustached face—the doorman promptly shows up a newspaper clipping as proof.
The gentleman does confess to being hard of hearing because of advanced years and lives with his son’s family. “They look after me so very well but I do need to stay on the job. It helps keep me in good shape.”
Until his eyesight started dimming, he’d commute to work on his bicycle. “Now I take the bus.”
Mr Ram admits to very long hours as arguably Delhi’s oldest doorman. He can be sighted daily, except Sundays, from 11am to 8pm, and graciously agrees to pose for selfies with fascinated strangers. “And in the evening my grandson Gaurav arrives promptly, to pick me up in his car.”
[This is the 212nd portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Delhi’s oldest doorman