Mission Delhi - Nem Singh, Kucha Lalman

Mission Delhi – Nem Singh, Kucha Lalman

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Birds withdraw from their tree in the morning, and fly back to that same shelter by night. This bird leaves its tree in the sundown instead, and returns…

Mission Delhi - Arman, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Mission Delhi – Arman, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] The mask hawker isn’t pushy at all. He quietly follows a passerby, and upon catching the attention, politely asks if the person would be interested in buying a…

Mission Delhi - Manglu, Near Ashram Flyover

Mission Delhi – Manglu, Near Ashram Flyover

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] His robe is saffron. His turban is black. His beard is white. His nails are long. But it is his gaze that is the most formidable aspect of…

Mission Delhi - Mukesh Kumar, Near Gurgaon Railway Station

Mission Delhi – Mukesh Kumar, Near Gurgaon Railway Station

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] His left hand has a ring on almost every finger. Some fingers have more than one ring. “These are for good luck,” says Mukesh Kumar. “And yet I’m…

Mission Delhi - Raibul Nadaf , Sarai Kale Khan

Mission Delhi – Raibul Nadaf , Sarai Kale Khan

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Late night. The vegetable vendors are gone. The Mother Dairy booth has downed its shutters. The homeless brown dog is sleeping. The cold smoggy air is making the…

Mission Delhi - Naeem, Chawri Bazar

Mission Delhi – Naeem, Chawri Bazar

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Crickets are singing. The water is lapping by the shore. This is the lake isle of Innisfree. The dependable Wikipedia locates it in Ireland. While the aforementioned description…

Mission Delhi - Ranjeet, Nehru Place

Mission Delhi – Ranjeet, Nehru Place

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Such tall multi-storeys. Such a crowd of busy pedestrians. And he is sitting cross-legged on the ground, with his little basket in front of him. His statue-like stillness…

Mission Delhi - Smita Babar, Sunder Nursery

Mission Delhi – Smita Babar, Sunder Nursery

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s evening and she is sitting alone by the lake in Sunder Nursery with a coffee mug by her side. Architect and urban conservationist Smita Babar, 32, graciously…

Mission Delhi - Devki, Hazrat Nizamuddin East

Mission Delhi – Devki, Hazrat Nizamuddin East

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This role, to her, is both familiar and strange. Familiar, because being a working woman is by no means a novel experience. She has been…

Mission Delhi - Shambhu Yadav, Outside Ashok Hotel

Mission Delhi – Shambhu Yadav, Outside Ashok Hotel

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s late October. That explains the nip in the air. But is it so chilly that Shambhu Yadav has to wrap himself in a blanket?…