Mission Delhi – Roop Chand Rekwar, Connaught Place
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Like so many other Delhiites, Roop Chand Rekwar has very long hours.
Arising at 5:30 am almost every day, he leaves home in Narela very quietly for his fast-food job in Central Delhi’s Connaught Place 40 km away. He doesn’t even make himself a cup of chai for fear of awakening his ailing parents.
The young gentleman points out that “Mummy has knee pain and Papa has been unwell for some 10 years.” The family’s other bread-winner includes an elder brother “who works in a factory.”
On his off-days Mr Rekwar takes the parents to a hospital in Connaught Place. His father, a rajmistri (construction labourer), stopped working years ago after stomach pains which still remain a medical mystery. “We have got him examined by many doctors, but nothing helps.”
In his mid-20s, the lad puts all these troubles behind him when dealing with fast-food customers: they are invariably treated to a brilliant smile lighting up his entire face.
His long commutes every day don’t faze him either. He takes the bus to work in early morning and returns on a train in the evening.
With so many hardships, just how does Mr Rekwar manage to smile so wonderfully during working hours?
Predictably, he answers the question with a big smile. “Others can’t help me, so what’s the point? I’ll help myself.”
[This is the 228th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The story behind the smile