Mission Delhi – Kishen Pal, Central Delhi
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Kishen Pal is a determined citizen.
Losing his arm in a 1990 accident, he was no longer able to work as a truck driver. Instead he found employment in a chemist shop until “retiring” at age 55.
But Mr Pal refused to retire.
“No, I never wanted to give up on work,” he avers. Now he’s a rickshaw puller in central Delhi,sweating just as mightily as everybody else in his line of business. He has, infact, removed his shirt to cope with the morning’s extreme humidity.
“Lost my arm long ago and I try not to think of the accident, have almost forgotten about it.” He now wipes off the dripping sweat from his eye brows.
A native of Bareilly in UP, Mr Pal points out that“I live alone here in Delhi. As a retired man I certainly don’t want a life where I’ve got to depend on others, or to beg for money.”
Some other person with similar circumstances might perhaps have taken up a physically less strenuous profession.
The rickshaw puller shrugs, saying that “it’s now been two months with the rickshaw, and I’m satisfied in this line of work.”
Patting his hand on the handlebar, he speaks of a sense of independence. “I’m a badshah (king).I follow my heart’s will.”
He now removes his shirt hanging on his shoulder, maneuvers the garment back on, and solemnly poses for a portrait.
[This is the 241st portrait of Mission Delhi project]
His own master