Delhiwale: A woman’s portrait
As a single mother, Samina supports herself and her baby, Sufiyan, by begging.
“I’m earning enough to at least have rotis twice daily,” reports the 20-year-old. She and her baby boy are living in a Lodhi-era ruin in central Delhi—after kicking out her husband who refused to work. Samina is no stranger to hardship. She grew up in Delhi without much motherly love. “I have no clue to her whereabouts, not even her mobile number… I think she is somewhere in Bihar,” she says.
Her father died in an accident when she was small.
Four years ago she met Shahid who was working as a cleaner in a guest house. They settled down together, “but he stopped working soon after our son was born.” She told him to leave, and then became a beggar. Shahid later returned asking for forgiveness, but Samina definitely decided to move ahead in any event without him. “That part of my life is over. I can’t bind myself to him.”
Samina feels her situation is somewhat stabilised for now—and is pondering the next step. She would like to work in households “where I can wash the dishes and sweep the floors and get monthly pay.” Two evenings later, Samina is spotted with a man. “That’s him,” she says, adding with a smile, “Shahid and I back together… it’s not easy to live alone.”