Mission Delhi – Nanku, North Delhi
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Nanku is a man of few possessions. A daily-wage labourer in north Delhi, his most visible elements of private property has to be his silver color chain and his earring.
“But I won’t care if they get lost or stolen,” he mutters. “My most precious items are in fact my sandals.
In his 30s, the gentleman is, however, barefoot at this time in the morning. “This is because I keep them safe for the night in a cigarette seller’s stall.”
Nanku lives alone in the city. He sleeps on the footpath here and can’t afford to keep his sandal by his side “because anybody can lift them while I’m asleep.”
Those are not just some ordinary footwear, he points out, “that one buys from the chor bazaar (thieves’ market)!”
Nanku got them from Lajpat Nagar market a year ago. “Until then I’d always wore rubber chappals.”
He was in Lajpat Nagar for an errand when he spotted the sandals on a roadside shack. “They looked like leather chappals”
Nanku bought the sandals for 275 rupees. It was a rare occasion of splurge for a man who usually picks up “lawaris (abandoned) clothes from the road.”
For instance, pointing to the clothes he is wearing, he reveals, “Currently this is the only pant-shirt I have.”
Will he show the sandals please?
Nanku goes around a turning, to the cigarette seller’s booth, and returns moments later, holding the Lajpat Nagar purchase in his hands. He bends down and carefully opens the straps, sliding his feet into the precious sandals.
[This is the 226th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Nanku’s precious possession