City Moment – The Family of Man, Galli Kaley Khan
The beautiful Delhi instant.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla was one afternoon taking a stroll at Galli Kaley Khan, a narrow passage in Daryaganj, a quarter in the Walled City. The alley was lined with tall residential buildings. I walked up the stairs of one such block, hoping to catch a view of the Old Delhi skyline. Instead, I witnessed an incredible sight.
On reaching the fourth floor (the rooftop was on the fifth landing), a door opened, a young man emerged and after enquiring about this unexpected visitor, he invited me into his home for a cup of Nunchai, the salted Kashmiri tea. The living room was spacious. There were no sofas or chairs. The entire floor was covered with carpets. Soon a 4-year-old girl entered the room. The man said she was his daughter Muskan. A minute later, a 6-year-old girl entered. The man said she was his oldest daughter, Mallika. Next, a young woman appeared carrying a 39-day-old infant. The man said that the woman was his wife and the child was his youngest daughter, Maisha.
Old Delhi, founded by Mughal emperor Shahjahan in 1639, is touristy for its monuments, cuisine and bazaars. Its street life is an enchanting mix of past and present. Old men gossip in chaikhanas, while boys kill time in carom board clubs and snooker parlors. The neighbourhoods are congested and the only open public spaces are the mosques’ courtyards. Traditionally, the area’s women rarely appeared in public. That is changing. However, it is not easy for an outsider to get a peek into the life behind the high walls of Old Delhi houses. if I was not invited into this fourth floor apartment in Galli Kaley Khan, I would have never met these three girls and their mother. The kind man also let me take portraits of his family. While I fiddled with the camera lens, the five sat smiling. Those were beautiful moments.
Mummy and the girls
Mummy Papa and the girls