Monday, August 03, 2009

Photo Essay – The Cost of Living

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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The Cost of Living

Poor people and the price of water.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

A 2007 survey had revealed that Delhi had the most millionaires in India - 1.38 lakh (138,000) households earning Rs 10 lakh (1 million) or more annually. That same year Khan Market was declared the world’s 16th most expensive retail high street. Two years later in 2009, during the countdown to the national elections, 33 millionaires vied to enter the parliament through Delhi’s constituencies. A few months later an annual global survey declared the Capital the most expensive Indian city for expatriates.

At least the expats have their dollars, euros and return tickets. What about the city’s poor? Some figures say that the poverty is going down. According to the website of the Delhi government (, the percentage of population below the poverty line in Delhi has declined from 49.61 per cent in 1973-74 to 8.23 per cent in 1999-2000. Yet, when you look around, you find the claims rather difficult to believe.

Here are a few pictures of a mother and her child photographed in Connaught Place, Outer Circle. The Delhi Walla wonders how do they get to drink even a glass of water. After all, that, too, comes at a cost.

Rs 1 – The price of a glass of water from roadside vendors

Rs 7 – The price of a roasted bhutta from any roadside stall

Rs 10 – The price of a full round of Mudrika bus ride

Rs 15 – The price of one plate Maggi at any joint in North Campus, Delhi University

Rs 22 – The maximum ticket price in Delhi Metro

Rs 30 – The parking price for the first three hours in Select Citywalk mall, Saket

Rs 40 - The price of a porn DVD in Palika Bazar

Rs 50 – The price of a pair of Osho chappals in Janpath Market

Rs 60 – The price of McChicken burger, without cheese

Rs 100 – The average price of a T-shirt in Sarojini Nagar Market

Rs 300 – The price for a cinema ticket at PVR Ambiance (Gold Class) in Gurgaon

Rs 3,700 plus taxes – The price of 'Hillary Platter' at Bukahara restaurant in Maurya Sheraton

Rs 4,000 – The average cost of getting a tattoo done in Basant Lok Market

Rs 4,995 – The price of the coffee table book, Raghu Rai’s Delhi – Contrasts and Confluences

Rs 80,000 – The average monthly rent of a fully furnished flat in Greater Kailash – I.

Rs 1,50,000 – The average price of a Rohit Bal wedding lehenga

The cost of living

The Cost of Living

The cost of living

The Cost of Living

The cost of living

The Cost of Living

The cost of living

The Cost of Living

The cost of living

The Cost of Living

The cost of living

The Cost of Living


heena said...

Kudos! Hats off! Hands down!
You've brought to the surface the bitter fact from which people try to escape or overlook.
Thats simply fab. I'm short of words, this piece is really touching.
MAS, you rock!

ZEev said...

mast yaaaar
nice 1
some dilli walahs r super duper rich nd sum r so poor ki ,abhi ek bacha bhookh se mar gayaa..

nice picsssss yaarrrr
oye ab to U bhi super duper rich ho raha hai yaar :P

ZEev said...

Rs.3...kebba in jama masjid streets
Rs.5..samosa,near telephone exchange,sunday book bazar
Rs, 20...full veg thali at any dhabha wyh 4 chapatis
Rs. 7...bante wali lemon,darya ganj
Rs.20...hindi books from sharat chander ,Ravinder nath bazar
Rs.0..........mayank ke blogs pado nd delhi free mein ghoom lo :P:D

Faiza said...

The images of this child and her mother are eye openers.. You have successfully conveyed the emotion. Bravo!

Putra Bertam said...

Rs 15 for a plate of Maggi and Rs 60 for Mcd bugger without Cheese. In Malaysia, a plate of Maggi Fried Noodle will cost you Rm 2.50 = Rs 25 and Cheese bugger with full set Soft drink and French fries in Mcd only cost you Rm 5.99 = Rs 60. Since you did mention about Maggi, a instant noodle that part of any University student diet for those who are in a strict budget. A packet of Maggi Instant noodle only cost you Rm0.80 = less than a RS. In malaysia those had been caught sleeping in front of Shop lot would be sent to Welfare House for free food and selter.

Anonymous said...

"Ye zindgi, zindgi to nahi"
bt who is responsible for such kind of life?
these people theirself?
or us...the society?
or our government?
or God?

or Pakistan?

LumousP said...


Ehsan Ali Jahan said...

Really shocking; brought me crashing down. Prior to looking at the pics, I was just about to go shopping to buy some new clothes, this despite having two almaris full of them, but I wanted to get some new designs that were fashionable this summer! I now feel nauseous at even the thought of it. Here in the UK, we seem to forget how one half of humanity still lives. MAS you continue not only to open my eyes to a world that I thought I knew, but also help illuninate my mind. For this I wholeheartedly say: Bahaut Shukriya

kumar v said...

where is this "Ravinder Nathji book bhandar" ?

Anvita Lakhera said...

Moving beyond words...incredible India indeed.

Rajiv said...

kumar V....are yaar just visit daryaganj book bazar
sab mil jaye gaaa.
nahi to sooifi se pooch lena
waise ab yeah bada aadmi ho gaya hai ,reply nahi kare gaaa [:D]

a n k | t said...

is this what a delhiwalla has become >>> a mere spectator???

SS said...

Maano,this essay should be catalyst to open dialogue and make some noise. The pictorial should not serve as a prosaic acceptance, but i wish you all would create a demonstration and get the government to incept changes. This is atrocious at its highest peak --when human dignity is brought to such cruelty. Everyone who has commented should take responsibilty to ignite some changes, for this is YOUR India, and if you do not contribute to ensuring the well being of the vulnerable in society, than it is rather dismissive. Please get a group of people and start a movement to voice your opinions and injustice faced upon all. Else, it is just another photo-essay to say "poor them!". Not good enough!

Mayank, start up on this effort. You are gifted as a photo-journalist and it is the responsibility of all of us to not just write truthfully, but TO DO something about such degradation. I am with you in solidarity.


ZEev said...

waalaaah ,aa gaya yeah bhi HT mein :)
or taraki karo ge miyaaaan

मीत..... said...

I am teary eyed.. How easily we tend to find discomforts in our 5 star ambiance and air conditioned homes!! And there is this baby and a mother unattended..

Ramit said...

I appreciate the way ZEev has left a comment on this topic that could cheer you up while congratulating Mayank in his own way. But I fail to understand why do people leave a comment with 'Annonymous' in their names? Please trust all of use who read Mayank's blog, we will not come after you with a stick in our hands if we find your comment offensive!