Mission Delhi – Rajan, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
All great cities become great due to the steady addition of people from other places who make it their new home. Gurgaon in the Greater Delhi Region is no exception. Its energy comes from its migrants — some happen to be from South Korea, some from South 24 Parganas. The new residents are especially full of dynamism because they are the ones who dare to leave their homelands behind in order to shape a new life in an unfamiliar world. In turn, they end up shaping their adopted city.
Manning a public garden, Guard Rajan might be one such person. He has left the most precious aspects of his life back home in his village in Madhya Pradesh — parents, wife and a daughter. But one thing has come along with him, he says, showing the locket around his neck. It has a little metallic mace. “This is Hanumanji’s gada,” he says.
Rajan is a bhakt of Lord Hanuman (though he admits he can’t recite Hanuman Chalisa by heart). He is emotional about the locket — “Just touching it from time to time makes me feel good.” It was gifted to him by his wife, he reveals. Her name is the same as his except that it ends with Shree. “It was a coincidence. My parents picked her as my bride.”
Some years ago, his wife, he says, was visiting a village fair where she bought this little keepsake for her husband, knowing his devotion to Hanuman. “She made me wear it for my protection the day I was leaving home for Gurgaon.”
The locket always stays with Rajan. “Sometimes, when I miss home, I touch the gada and I feel close to my wife and my daughter.” He confesses that the feeling doesn’t last long and soon enough, he ends up missing his family even more intensely. “The long distance cannot be bridged so easily,” he notes philosophically.
Though Rajan is in his 20s, he feels his life has no other possibilities other than doing “chhoti moti” jobs like his present assignment. He, however, has ambitions for his daughter. “We hope she will complete her school,” he murmurs.
Craning his neck to look down at the locket, he says, “No, it will not break… it is tied to a strong dhaaga.”
[This is the 464th portrait of Mission Delhi project]