Mission Delhi - Praveen Lal, Connaught Place

Mission Delhi – Praveen Lal, Connaught Place

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Many of us in this city can trace our roots to a village. Praveen Lal is no different. The shoeshine man lives with his wife…

Mission Delhi - Liyakat Ali, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Liyakat Ali, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] These days you rarely see hand fans. Most of them, anyway, tend to be of plastic. But this hand fan is so distinct that you…

Mission Delhi - Muhammed Saif, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Muhammed Saif, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] I’m resting—the thought has taken over Muhammed Saif. At this time of the afternoon, he would be hauling large amounts of construction material on the…

Mission Delhi - Shivnath Verma, Daryaganj

Mission Delhi – Shivnath Verma, Daryaganj

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Young people get restless in villages as soon as they realise life is elsewhere. They leave their homes, move to big cities full of rumoured…

Mission Delhi - Ompal, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Mission Delhi – Ompal, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He’s one of our city’s most uncommon men. This afternoon, he is sitting on the pavement, giving the final touches to what seems to be…

Mission Delhi - Kailash, Sector 6, Gurgaon

Mission Delhi – Kailash, Sector 6, Gurgaon

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] Our material possessions aren’t everything, but they are something. Labourer Kailash agrees to the assessment. He feels their importance, he says, because he has so…

Mission Delhi - Zubair Alvi, Chitli Qabar

Mission Delhi – Zubair Alvi, Chitli Qabar

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] On the laptop, the Microsoft Excel file is open. The young man with a week-old stubble is urgently poring over sales invoices and balance sheets….

Mission Delhi - Namita Gokhale, South Delhi

Mission Delhi – Namita Gokhale, South Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] She is an acclaimed author and lit-fest director, with successful daughters, a frank disposition and a comfortable book-filled home in south Delhi—seemingly uniting some of…

Mission Delhi - Shailesh Kumar, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Shailesh Kumar, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] He is sitting beside his packets of masks. His masked face is plopped on his knees, as if he were trying to escape from the…

Mission Delhi - Sant Ram, Jangpura

Mission Delhi – Sant Ram, Jangpura

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] Seasons dominate his life. This is in the nature of his occupation, which depends on the month of the year. It’s early June and hawker…