City Style – The Gentleman’s Dressing, Central Delhi
A story of many-layered clothes.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
On an intolerably hot and excessively humid morning, he’s wearing an overcoat and two jackets, along with two long-sleeved shirts and much else.
“Why?” one is naturally prompted to put this question to him.
Muhammed Shatabuddin Ali Hussain breaks into a radiant smile.
He explains in a persuasive voice that “people who do good things never feel the atrocities of the summer season.”
As a pavement dweller, the bearded gentleman points out that the clothes he’s wearing are all that he’s got.
“I don’t have a suitcase where I can keep them,” he said.
He lives alone outside a central Delhi temple and spends his days walking along the bazaar streets in this part of the town never asking anybody for money. “But eatery owners themselves give me food, and chai stalls offer me chai. But I don’t take their kindness for granted. I’m always very grateful.”
He says he doesn’t need anything else.
Mr Hussain goes on to say that he picks up discarded clothing from roadside and railway tracks and never throws the garments away “until they fall down from my body.”
The gentleman cannot always gauge the age of clothing comprising his extraordinary wardrobe. He admits that he never washes them, “but they do get washed when it rains.”
He does remove all these outer layers at night when it’s time to get some sleep—they become his bed, right there on the pavement.
A person’s life with his daily wear