Mayank’s book Nobody Can Love You More has been published (see the rather lovely self-portrait by the author). I am so eager to get a copy and read it. I had looked at the partial manuscript but am sure it has gone through various changes now. The author is well known for his blogs and pictures on Delhi and also a set of four booklets on Delhi. This one is special. Looks at the underclass, the hidden world of sex workers in Delhi. A world away from the sensibilities of middle class South Asia which either spurns or objectifies these amazing women (and men).
“The sex workers of Kotha No. 300 raise their children, cook for their lovers, visit temples, shrines and mosques, complain about pimps and brothel owners, listen to film songs, and solicit and entertain customers. By following the daily lives of the denizens of one kotha, Mayank Austen Soofi paints an intimate portrait of women for whom sex is work–a way to make a living. With precise details and haunting photographs, Soofi delicately and carefully etches the everyday world of those who inhabit the peripheries of society.”
Books mean everything for Mayank. And this is how he says it on his blog The Delhi Walla:
Hot off the press. On receiving the first copy of his new book, Nobody Can Love You More: Life in Delhi’s Red Light District, The Delhi Walla hid it in an envelope and went through the day as if it was just another ordinary day.
In the evening I took an auto-rickshaw to Khan Market and walked on the Front Lane with the world’s most beautiful secret in my hand.
An hour later I left the market for Lodhi Gardens. There I stood under a lamp. After making sure that nobody was around, I took out the book from the envelope, kissed its cover and carefully put it back into the envelope. I then crossed the park and walked towards the Lodhi Road, from where I walked to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah. Here I presented the book as a respectful offering to Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
Nobody could have been happier.
And I am happy for you Mayank. Congratulations.