Mission Delhi – Dileep and Suresh, Mehrauli
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The two men are wading their way through a congested bazar in south Delhi’s Mehrauli, singing a devotional bhajan in robust melodic voices. Occasionally, shoppers are stopping by to offer them a few coins or a currency note, which they accept without interrupting their rendition. After they finish with a song, the men are jointly urged to share their CV.
Names: Dileep and Suresh.
Age: Dileep is 32, Suresh is 28.
Marital status: Both are single.
Family background: Parents of both are farm workers in in Rewa, MP.
Educational qualification: Dileep is a graduate in political science from Govt. Thakur Ranmat Singh College in Rewa. He is also a diploma holder in ITI from Jabalpur. Currently pursuing B. Ed as a correspondent student at IGNOU in Delhi. Suresh finished his 12th standard and has joined a bachelor’s degree course in sociology as a correspondent student in IGNOU. Both met while students in Yamuna Prasad Sashtri Blind School in Rewa. Dileep was Suresh’s senior by a few years.
Present address: They share a room in south west Delhi’s Najafgarh.
Work experience: Being correspondent students, neither of them has to attend classes in the university. They spend a large portion of their day studying in their room. They also learn new devotional songs each morning by searching them on their mobile phone’s YouTube. The two men use their musical talent to subsidise their daily living by making evening rounds in different parts of Delhi and Gurgaon, where they walk the bazar streets singing the sacred bhajans. They commute in bus to reach the place. Dileep points out that “we welcome donation, but never ask shopkeepers or any particular person for money. Passersby give us whatever amount they wish to.”
Future Expectations: Dileep—“I hope to get a job after finishing my B.Ed. The earnings will help me give something back to my parents who have given their all to raise me.” Suresh—“I hope to successfully finish my graduation in sociology. But ultimately I wish to be an artist. I’m in search of a person who can guide me towards a career as a professional singer.”
Later on, the men ask a passerby for directions to the nearest bus stop. They start a new bhajan, as they start to walk towards their destination.
[This is the 507th portrait of Mission Delhi project]