Delhiwale: A wandering man’s melodies
You might not covet Raju Jogi’s ektara made out of a pumpkin or his khartal made of wood, yet you will envy his life brimming with the simplicity of a wanderer.delhi Updated: Dec 21, 2017 12:12 IST
He’s looking so carefree. Why can’t we be like him?
We meet Raju Jogi one pleasant winter afternoon in a quiet north Delhi lane. Dressed in a saffron robe, he is walking along playing the ektara. The stringed instrument is slung on his left shoulder like a rucksack. He is also carrying another traditional music instrument — khartal, a wooden clapper. The only modern-seeming thing about him is his wristwatch.
“I just walk and walk all day long from one road to another, singing Meera’s bhajans,” he tells us.
Then, showing us a Rs 10 coin, he says people sometimes give him money after hearing him. “But I never ask for it.”
Mr Jogi’s home is in a village near Alwar, Rajasthan. His brothers and his father are also ektara players — in fact, it was his father who made his instrument out of a “kadduu” (pumpkin). Although the ektara is a part of their heritage, Mr Jogi’s family survives by cultivating grains on a tiny patch of land.
“I came to Delhi a few weeks ago because I wanted to be alone for some time,” he says in a tone that makes it sound like the most natural thing to do.
For now, Mr Jogi has rented a room in Paharganj. “I wake up, make myself chai and only then get out on the road.” While wandering, he makes sure to be in Palika Bazaar by noon. There, an eatery owner gives him a dal chawal meal for free.
Leaving us behind, the wandering musician says he will leave the city by Makar Sakranti, when the winter comes to an end. We watch him walk away until he becomes a blur.