City Home - Irshad's Residence, Near GB Pant Hospital

City Home – Irshad’s Residence, Near GB Pant Hospital

City Home - Irshad's Residence, Near GB Pant Hospital

Home sweet home

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Here, the white cord of a mobile phone charger. There, a blue-rimmed handheld mirror. On a hook, two jackets. On the floor, a blanket.

This room is an entire house, tucked within a congested enclave, next to a dhobi ghat, behind GB Pant Hospital. The room is the size of a train compartment, or perhaps smaller. There is no window. Some daylight is entering through the half-opened door. It is the only door.

This afternoon, Irshad is at home. In his mid-20s, he is a street hawker of coconuts. So are his older brother and his father. The three men live jointly. The house rent is 3,000 rupees monthly; they have been living here for 15 years. “Papa and bhai are out (with their respective carts), I’m resting for a while,” he mutters.

The brief break is well-deserved. Irshad gets up every morning at four, even in the biting cold of January, and heads in an auto rickshaw to the distant Azadpur Subzi Mandi, where he gets the day’s supply of fresh coconuts, which arrive from Bangalore. Since half of the floor in the room is piled up with coconuts, Irshad is forced to pull up his knees. “If I stretch my legs to full length, they will lie upon the coconuts, and that will be disrespectful to the coconuts as well as to our customers.”

In the winter, the room doesn’t get very cold, he says. It heats up greatly in the summer due to the tin roof. “But we have that,” Irshad says, pointing to a table fan.

Turning his gaze towards the door, Irshad talks of his family home in the village in Badayun, UP. “It is not a big house, but it has two rooms. There is also a TV.” The Delhi residence doesn’t have a TV. No fridge either. Not even a closet. “We watch picture (movies) on mobile, so we don’t need TV; we eat in the dhaba, so we don’t need fridge; we keep clothes in our bag, so we don’t need closet.” The toilet outside is shared between many residents in the area, he says.

Stretching out his arm to close the door latch, Irshad says that “now there will no knowing if it is goodnight or goodmorning outside.. see.”

A room as house


City Home - Irshad's Residence, Near GB Pant Hospital


City Home - Irshad's Residence, Near GB Pant Hospital