Mission Delhi – Vikas, Gurgaon Bus Stand
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are. That’s the famous saying of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. The legendary French gourmand lived during the early 19th century. If he were to be alive today, he could have as well said—show me your mobile and I’ll tell you what you are.
Indeed, if you wish to know anything/everything about a person’s life, all you have to do is scan through his or her mobile phone.
Vikas’s photo folder on his mobile gives a extensive overview of his world. For instance, here are some of his snapshots on the job–a shirtless Vikas, 24, half sunk in the gutter. “I work only in my shorts,” he says, describing himself as a “sewer cleaning man.”
It is late afternoon, here in Gurgaon bus stand. Today’s work is done and Vikas, wearing a baseball cap, is heading home—he lives in Delhi.
Waiting for a bus, he shows a photo of himself, posing with a woman. “My wife and I.” It was an arranged marriage, he explains, recalling that the wedding was preceded by a “ring ceremony just the way you see people do in films… for this was not the custom in our family.”
Next, Vikas shows the photo of an elderly man, sitting on a chair. “Pitaji (father) is no more… he was a painter who would do chunai in the walls of newly-built apartments.” Vikas had a brother who died some years back. His mother died when he was a child.
“I’m an orphan… I would have been totally alone in the world if I hadn’t my wife.” He says that soon there will be a new face to see in his mobile phone. “My wife is pregnant. No matter whether the baby is a boy or girl, I believe she or he will have some features or traits of my late father and brother.”
He shows another photo of him and his wife. They are at home, sitting on the floor. “As you can see, we have no bed. The room is on rent…. I can’t say our baby will be lucky to have us, but we sure will be lucky to have the baby.”
Now he clicks a selfie with his interlocutor, adding one more photo to the phone.
[This is the 424th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
His mobile bio