Saturday, December 05, 2009

Mission Delhi – One Per Cent in 13 Million

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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Bus No. 522

Cracking the city.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

You don’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.

The Delhi Walla plans to make portraits of one per cent of this 8-digit figure, that is 1, 30, 000 Delhiwallas. Each portrait will have a photograph 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.

But one lakh and thirty thousand portraits... possible?

Inshallah. God willing.

Click here for Muhammad Salim, the first portrait.

Click here for Berenice Ellen, the second portrait.

Click here for Shankar, the third portrait.

Click here for Satnam Singh Juneja, the fourth portrait.

Click here for Mushirul Hasan, the fifth portrait.

Click here for Pooja, the sixth portrait.

Click here for Aanchal Malhotra, the seventh portrait.

Click here for Changa Kumar, the eighth portrait.

Click here for Rakesh Chandra, the ninth portrait.

Click here for Sumanta Roy, the 10th portrait.

Click here for Deen Dayal, the 11th portrait.

Click here for Muhammad Aslam, the 12th portrait.

Click here for Syed Haider Raza, the 13th portrait.

Click here for Sarah Rose, the 14th portrait.

Click here for Aarti, the 15th portrait.

Click here for Rachana Rao Umashankar, the 16th portrait.

Click here for Muhammad Waseem, the 17th portrait.

Click here for Surinder, the 18th portrait.

Click here for Ram Swaroop Sharma, the 19th portrait.

Click here for Kareem Khan, the 20th portrait.

Click here for Sunita Pandit, the 21st portrait.

Click here for Salim Javeri, the 22nd portrait.


Unknown said...

I am up for one ..
living in this GOD damn US of A .. I have still maintained those old east dilli values in me ..
wotsay ??

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Rupesh, why don't you please write to me at

Vimesh said...

All the best !!....

someday Inshallah !! we would have an Delhiwala Coffee table book ...May be weighing 20 Kg..... :) :)

Anonymous said...

Great idea. The culture is the people. Dilli is Dilli.

Ramit Grover said...

Good luck Sir. Will help in whatever way I possibly can.

Anonymous said...

130000/365 ~ 356.12

Syed Asad Hasan said...

I wish i could accompany you in your mission.

Niya said...

It's possible! Good luck.

a n k | t said...

Mayank... m up for one too....
m coming to Delhi after 6 years, I've a friends with me also from Delhi who would like to meet with you....
Let me know if interested. :]

mao said...

I'm not from Dehli. Didn't get a chance to visit. By my ancestors are. It would be fantastic to include portraits of migrants from Dehli....those who migrated during Partition.

Good luck on this project. I would love to do the same for Lahore...which is in my eyes, a very fantastic city.

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Mao: Yes, Lahore is a fantastic city. I have been there.

Ankit: Yes, why not!

Lucie said...

Ambitious project! Have you worked out how many people that is per day if you are going to work on this for the rest of your life? A year has 365 days, hmm ...

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

I intend to reach the final number but I do not intend to drown the people whom I profile in a grey haze of standard issue life stories. Every individual's life must stand out. Yes.

binu said...

good luck Mayank.

a n k | t said...

Mayank: awesome.... whadya say to sometime in January??? :]

DeeBee said...

Best wishes MAS.... I wish I could help you in anyway..

Living in Bombay and Hyderabad for the past three years, but a piece of Delhi in me everyday... Your blog is one big ways of remaining connected to the Delhi i love so much...Thanks! God Bless You.

DB (

Anonymous said...

I m highly connected to Delhi. Been living here since 6 years. Despite its extreme climate condition, loud people, irregular traffic rules, Harrassing checkposts, pricey outings and abusive mouths....I still love Delhi. Whenever I go to my homeland, after few days Delhi strangely pulls me to itself...and I give in to it..

DoctorGenius said...

Gr8 Mission n Gr8 Work you do..All the Write-ups n PiXXX..Everythin..Jz love it all
PLz plz plz..Do tell if i too can b a part of this..Apart from readin it that is :)