Mission Delhi – Faisal Khan, Mehrauli
One of the one per cent in 13 million.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Taking off his yellow T-shirt and flexing his muscles, he says, “I’m eating too much biryani. I need to tone up my body.” The Delhi Walla meets Faisal Khan, 24, at his one-room apartment in Mehrauli, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. Mr Khan, who works as a customer care executive with Lufthansa airlines at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, is however currently less focused on his abs, and more on his broken heart. His girlfriend is refusing to see him. “I’m a Muslim, she’s a Hindu,” he says. “Her parents promised to drink poison the day we would marry.”
A native of Rampur, a town in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Khan arrived in Delhi in 2001. After graduating from Jamia Millia University, he was hired by a handling agency that supplies airport ground staff to foreign airlines on a contract basis. While issuing boarding passes to the ticket holders of Turkish Airlines at the airport, Mr Khan started noticing a fellow customer care executive stationed at the adjacent China Airlines counter. They eyes would occasionally meet but they never talked. A year later they both were moved to the counter of Uzbekistan Airlines. They started talking.
Their first date took place in Connaught Place, the city’s Colonial-era shopping district. “We had the same work roster that week. She came from her home in Tilak Nagar and I came from Mehrauli and we met at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station. We then walked out to Central Park where she said that she liked me.”
Mr Khan’s room has a bed, a TV, a fridge, a carpet, and three framed sceneries of the Swiss Alps. “She’s very simple,” he says of his girlfriend. “She has sharp features, big eyes and a good height. She’s very courteous and is polite even to a sweeper.”
The lovers worked together in the airport. During the weekly off-days, they dated: lounging on the grass in Purana Qila, shopping in Connaught Place, and eating burgers in Janak Puri District Center. They planned to marry. Mr Khan’s mother had no problem but his girlfriend’s parents – in his words – “blackmailed her emotionally.” She started withdrawing from him.
It must have been tough for Mr Khan’s girlfriend. When her parents threatened suicide, she stopped receiving his phone calls. If he tried talking to her at the work, she would be rude to him. “She hasn’t stopped loving me. Each time we come across each other in the airport, I can see on her face that she is feeling for me.”
Mr Khan understands her helplessness. “If she comes to me, she’ll be doing a disservice to her parents.” A common friend informed that his girlfriend has been crying a lot. The private despair hasn’t come in the way of her career, though. In 2010, Mr Khan’s girlfriend was promoted from Uzbekistan Airlines’s ground staff to Cathay Pacific’s cabin crew. She went for a three-month training to Hong Kong.
Mr Khan is happy for her and despite setbacks in love, he hasn’t stopped hoping for a happy ending. Each time he talks of his girlfriend, his eyes twinkle. And he continues to smile.
“Can you forget her?” I ask.
“Can her parents let her marry you?”
“If I’m promoted to the cabin crew… perhaps, yes, though she’d said that they would never agree. You see, it’s tough to let go of her.”
[This is the 37th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
WOAH with the shirtless pics!Hmmm….is it hot in Delhi(this time of the year)?(scratches head…LOL) Or did you suggest that he take of his shirt?
Delhiwalla is a perv.
religion is poison
Ah, the shenanigans of the post-teen love. He should convince her parents though. They should be flexible enough if they really are citizens of incredible India.
What a stupid comment, talk about double standards. Her parents have legitimate reasons not to let their daughter get married to a Muslim. Also, if Muslims can require a Hindu to convert to Islam to marry a Muslim; why can’t Hindus choose what THEY THINK is the best for their daughters in the long run? No person is inferior and if Muslims want to assert secularism only when it comes to their wants/wishes, then they don’t deserve to be the citizens of India either. Double-standards and secularism don’t go hand in hand.
@Naushirvan: I agree, religion is something I’ll never understand. It seems like a very effective way to divide people and cause strife.
if he has really big muscles and abs,He should pursue his love.For love we dont need only abs,external beauti for love.We need back BONE:)
@Monika, let me substitute Unicorn believer for Muslim and Easter-bunny believer for Hindu. In the light of the said substitutions, let us examine your comment:
“What a stupid comment, talk about double standards. Her parents have legitimate reasons not to let their daughter get married to a Unicorn believer. Also, if Unicorn believers can require an Easter-bunny believer to convert to Unicorn belief to marry a Unicorn believer; why can’t Easter-bunny believers choose what THEY THINK is the best for their daughters in the long run? No person is inferior and if Unicorn believers want to assert secularism only when it comes to their wants/wishes, then they don’t deserve to be the citizens of India either. Double-standards and secularism don’t go hand in hand.”
This substitution is rather apt since there is as much evidence for the existence of God as for Unicorns or Easter-bunnies. So,they are all equally probable.
I am a non-believer, a sceptic, so I am not really supporting any religious sentiments here. What I do stand for is equality, even if it’s for the followers of a particular religion. I am not against inter-religious marriages but I don’t think it’s necessary for instance for a Hindu/Sikh/Jew/Christian etc. to convert to marry a Muslim. Why should they? Let everyone be what they are. The followers of Islam aren’t superior, everyone is equal!
I am sorry but if my comment was stupid then yours is even more. Muslims are treated as second-class citizens in most cases while Hindus claim to be moderated, enlightened and educated. They should throw the first stone in this scenario. On an absolutely relevant note, the “constitution of India” does not ask for the parents to give their consent. It’s just stupid traditions that one has to succumb to their parents’ wishes. My best wishes to the couple in sorting out the mess and get married.
At least, Hindus are what they claim to be (for the most of the part). The tradition of consent is not relevant in this case because the girl in question can marry without consent if the guy wasn’t a Muslim but in this case, she is bound by the fear of her parents’ intimidation of suicide, not convention. Also, if you will compare the Hindu community at large with the second class citizens/Muslims (your words), the tradition of consent is more prevalent with Muslims than Hindus/Christians/Sikhs [in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh] and so on.
For the record, Muslims feel like second class citizens the world over; maybe it’s time for some introspection to end this blame game. Muslims aren’t the victims; the world is being victimized by Muslims. Perhaps Muslims should accept that they aren’t superior and they have to live with non-Muslims peacefully. Coming back to who should throw the first stone, I would say, why not Muslims abolish the requirement of conversion for a marriage to a non-Muslim? Come on! You know Muslims will not do that:)
A suggestion to the girl: girl, don’t marry if you are asked to convert because it shows what is important, it’s Islam, not you, a Hindu. You are some contaminated creature and kafir…unless you become one of them.
I shall have to concede Monika does have a point. But,isn’t it nice if there were no religion. It brings out the worst in mankind. You dangle the prospect of eternal reward/punishment before gullible cretins and oh! just watch them kill and maim and plunder! Without religion, we’d have good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things. For good people to do bad things,it takes religion. BTW, the Constitution of India is a godless one. A ray of hope!
So you finally showed your Hindu mentality. Where are the facts to substantiate your claims that Muslims are not second-class citizens in India? Have you read the Suchar committee report? Have you forgotten the Gujarat genocide and hundreds of pogroms before that? Do you share your plate with non-Hindus and drink from the same tap?
And how the world is being victimized by Muslims? This was a give away to your mentality. Perhaps you choose better words next time but I won’t reply to your hate-filled remarks. The million Muslims killed in Afghanistan and Iraq are the oppressors? I’m sorry but you look like an extremist in the garb of a so-called atheist.
Yes! let it be a fight to death. Let us decide once and for all whose imaginary friend is the best! yeah! You and this Monika both seem to be educated individuals. Why then do you still cleave to stupid divisions based on centuries-old texts? As for the sharing of plates with Non-Hindus and the tap thing, you would be delighted to know that we live in a rapidly globalizing world. So,when a person goes out to a McDonald’s or Karim’s for lunch, he/she has no choice but to partake of food prepared by all manner of people and to use common cutlery. I have never seen a Muslim or a Hindu make petty objections over this and i’m amazed that you even mentioned this. I do not know about the situation in rural India but then they don’t have McDonald’s and T.G.I. Friday’s there. But there is that ‘langar’ and ‘bhandara’ feast where any person can obtain food regardless of caste and creed.
Anyhow, you really must try to free yourself from religious delusions. When it is pitch-black,it is expedient to follow a blind,since he knows best how to tap and feel the way in utter darkness. It is sheer stupidity to fasten yourself to the blind man even after the day has dawned or lamps been lit. We are in an age illuminated by science,reason and logic. The blind,old man of religion cannot be trusted to lead the way. This goes for all religions.
First of all, are you kidding me? Why wouldn’t I share a plate or drink from the same tap as Muslims? Wtf is that? I have lived in London for few years and have grown up in Amsterdam and have Muslim friends from Turkey, Morocco etc. The good thing is that there are Muslims who are capable of accepting the imperfections in their religion/community but undoubtedly, you seem to be very biased against Hindus in particular.
Please try to look inward rather than blaming the Indian State or non-Muslims for all your problems. It’s the Muslim community which can change the fate of the future generations by for instance not poisoning their minds against non-Muslims. I don’t condone the violence against Muslims anywhere in the world but most such occurrences are instigated by Muslims. Also, if one goes by the written history of the Indian subcontinent or even the modern history of Republic of India since the independence, there has been more violence against non-Muslims in the subcontinent than vice versa.
Anyhow, as we all need to move forward and give peace a chance, I think it’s better to free our minds of all the separate plates/taps issues and try to empower our communities for the better rather than telling them that they are failed by the State or Muslim-hating Americans, Israelis, Europeans or in India’s case, HINDUS.
Oh and if you want to call Muslims second class citizens, feel free but just take a look over the Eastern/Western border of India, Hindu, Christian etc. minorities don’t even have the basic human rights. India isn’t that bad after all:)
Wow, Monika, can you take a step back? No offence, but it wasn’t Shez who started this Hindu/Muslim crap on this forum. In fact, it was YOU who brought it up. Trying to cover up your ignorant and hateful comments through a mask of cosmopolitanism isn’t going to help. It is because of people like you that religious biases exist. Instead of exemplifying your own biases, can you keep your mouth shut if you have nothing useful to say?!
I am sure Mayank didn’t post this really revealing interview so that a bunch of no name idiots can brawl and bicker. This forum should be used for constructive feedback instead of spewing personal hatred.
First, mind your language.
Sorry ‘Sanchari’ but I don’t have to ‘shut’ my mouth. You can disagree with my point of view but you are nobody to censor my comments.
Just reread your comment and see who is being offensive and so odious. If you couldn’t read the sarcasm and cynicism in ‘shez’s’ first comment about ‘incredible’ India and the comments ‘shez’ made later, then it’s your problem, not mine. If stating facts about a certain religion is meaningless to you, then that is again a problem which you have to deal with personally; I can’t do much about it.
Oh and it’s you who is wearing many masks including that of self-styled liberalism and unsubstantiated political correctness.
Next time (if you feel like writing something useless), try to avoid such disparaging language or else, go cry in your mama’s lap.
@Monika: No, indeed, because people like you have nothing useful to contribute, your attack becomes personal. I am not “censoring” your comments, as you put it. Instead, I am pointing out the “uselessness” of your comments. I suppose your veracity to attack blinded you to the difference between the two.
As for the “sarcasm” in shez’s comment– sounds like you have been reading too much into it. Then again, it’s people like you who are looking for a fight. I am sure your anonymity online affords you your choice words, but it also exposes the hollowness of your personality. I do not like wasting my time talking to narrow minded self-proclaimed Hindus like you. Knowing your tendency to respond with alacrity (as you have demonstrated from the above comments), I will choose not to respond to your future utter bullshit.
P.S.I prefer being politically correct over being racist. I wonder if your mom could say as much about you.
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