Mission Delhi – Rathore, Sector 15, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Dark, cool, silent and shaded, it has become his refuge. Every afternoon, he migrates inside this little space and forgets the world.
This is one of the many drainage pipes lying on a roadside in Gurgaon’s Sector 15 in the Greater Delhi Region. “They were left here by a contractor two months ago for a small bridge to be built over a nallah (drain),” says the young man in shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt, vaguely gesturing towards his back.
This afternoon Rathore—he confirms this is his full name—is snugly ensconced inside the cement pipe.
“I always come here alone.”
He lives with his family nearby, and sells teddy bears on the street.
“But when it gets too hot and I’m tired, I come over here to relax.”
Often he listens to Hindi film songs on his mobile. Today, he even took a brief nap. “It’s like AC,” Rathore gushes, closing his eyes. “Here you feel as if you are in some other country,” says the guy who belongs to the desert state of Rajasthan.
“Here, you are far from the sun.”
But Rathore can never escape the sun, not even inside this escapist pipe. The boy looks mystified by this assertion until his attention is directed towards his hand. It’s tattooed with a drawing of the sun. “My parents got it done when I was a child,” he murmurs, looking transfixed at the tattoo as if seeing it for the first time.
[This is the 237th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
His AC refuge