Delhiwale: Forgotten in the city

Dev Kumar says he has been sleeping on footpaths since he arrived in Delhi two months ago. But his biggest grouse is that he knows now one and has no one to talk to in the city.

delhi Updated: Jul 17, 2017 11:01 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,Delhiwale,Lonely in Delhi
Dev Kumar near Malai Mandir in south Delhi.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

One hot and humid evening, we bump into him near Malai Mandir, in south Delhi. He is lying sprawled on the grass. His long hair and long beard are unkempt. He seems to be utterly alone.

We sit down beside him and try to break the ice by complaining about the weather. He turns his face away. Looking up at the sky, he says, “What a world! Nobody exchanged even a single word with me when it was raining heavily last week, and I was so completely drenched...”

The man sits up and pulls out a tuft of grass. Staring ahead at the evening rush hour traffic on Rao Tula Ram Marg, he says he arrived in Delhi two months ago from his village and has been sleeping on footpaths since. We ask why he had to leave his home and come to this big city where he doesn’t know a single soul. Closing his eyes, he replies, ‘Have you read the Mahabharata? That’s the story of my life and my family.”

The man is perhaps referring to the familial conflicts depicted in the epic.

It begins to get dark. The man absent-mindedly talks of picking up used water bottles from the garbage bins the next morning. “I will sell them to buy food… tonight I may get rotis from the mandir.”

Going back to lying on the grass, he says, “Nobody talks to me here... you will also go away... will you remember me?”

We ask for his name.

“My name is Dev Kumar. Will you remember it?”

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 16:35 IST