Not a Room of One’s Own

They're a ubiquitous sight, the first line of defense against interlopers for the nervous rich. But what kind of existence do our security guards lead? In this photo essay, Salik Ahmad watches Delhi's watchmen.


Like the uncle who offered you candy when you were small only to later sexually abuse you, cities can be both irresistible and ruthless. The struggle to keep body and soul together brings men to the city in droves, but the sheer jejunity of the work a large chunk of them end up doing for sustenance is depressing.



Being the country’s capital, New Delhi has witnessed a deluge of migration over the past few decades. Among these migrants are a class of people who work as watchmen guarding our homes. They come from all over the country—Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, even neighbouring Nepal. But despite their diverse origins, their stories exude telling similarities.




Living in sorry conditions, usually a camp bed in the parking lot or under staircases, these men work around the clock only to make enough money to sustain themselves, maybe send a little home. Their modest spaces remain dismally lit throughout the day: darkness seems to have become a persistent element of their existence.





Shot throughout at night, this photo essay is a modest attempt to document the conditions in which they live and work.




Salik Ahmad is a freelance photographer, currently studying journalism at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

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