Joys of Christmas
Dates2016 - Ongoing
Christmas is the most universal of festivals celebrated worldwide. India’s capital New Delhi is no exception. Connaught Place – the city’s oldest and toniest shopping district is decked up on the occasion to attract well-heeled customers.
Unsung and less noticed in all the promotions and media blitz, are migrant labour that operates illegally from pavements of Connaught Place, in between parked luxury cars and trash bins. These migrants brave New Delhi’s winters to sell inexpensive Christmas items for tiny margins. Unlike the decorated show windows, these people attract customers by decorating themselves with whatever that they are selling. The municipality often confiscates their goods as setting up such business on the pavement hinders traffic. Customers often haggle over the already low prices or buy nothing but ‘borrow’ a prop to take a selfie. But despite the many hardships, the profit margins give the migrant sellers some income and lend a new meaning to the joys of one of world’s oldest festivals.
Despite the unusual appearance, these migrants, who go back at the end of the Christmas-New Year season, represent a universal picture common to working class, unorganized labour in various parts of India and the world.
I have been photographing this group over the past four years. Due to fear of the authorities, most of them are reluctant to share their names and too many details about themselves.