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Mission Delhi

"I dream of making portraits of one per cent of this 8-digit figure — that is, 1,30,000 Delhiites"

entertainment Updated: May 08, 2010 00:56 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times

Some of my Delhi dreams are as follows:
I want to live at Sunil Mittal’s bungalow in Aurangzeb Road.
I want to take over Bahrisons Booksellers in Khan Market.
I want to have a lifetime of free meals at Diva, the Italian speciality restaurant in GK-II.
I want to be an sms-buddy of Rahul Gandhi.

All these dreams are achievable if I play my cards right. But then I have one more dream, which cannot be achieved in a single lifetime.

You see, we can’t understand a city by its buildings and bazaars, but by its people. That’s why you can’t take in the entire Delhi in one lifetime — we have 13 million souls here. I dream of making portraits of one per cent of this 8-digit
figure — that is, 1,30,000 Delhiites. Each portrait will have photographs of the person along with a peek into his life. By the time I finish the project (just assuming), the looks and the lives of most people I will photograph and profile is bound to change. You may wonder then, what is the point?

People are not ruins. They evolve over the years. Trying to sketch a person at a moment in his/her life is not to mummify him/her, but to get a sense of the city, his/her city. So I will search for people like you. You can be anyone. You may be living in a Defence Colony barsati or in a Seelampur shanty. You may be from Bihar or Kerala. You may be a vice chancellor. You may be a prostitute. You may be a rich man’s daughter. You may be a content housewife. You may be bisexual. You may be asexual. I’m interested in you all. I want to portray all of you... oh no, just one per cent of you. This is my Delhi dream.

But one lakh and thirty thousand portraits... And where will I find you? And will you like to talk to me? But I can always try. The idea is exciting.

First Published: May 07, 2010 17:22 IST