City Series – A House in the Village, Hauz Khas
Life in Delhi’s prettiest neighbourhood.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla lives in Hauz Khas Village. The one-room apartment has a window that looks to graceful ruins and a placid lake. The view ahead is of treetops. In the day, birds chirp. In the night, ducks squawk. The sky roars frequently with the drone of airplanes, preparing to land in Indira Gandhi International Airport.
The series A House in the Village will try to understand the life in Hauz Khas Village through its monuments, market and people, including the Kashmiri carpet seller who claims to see men’s future on their faces and the owner of a small second-hand bookstore where nobody has bought books since more than six months.
The series will start from my balcony. It juts into the grassy expanse of the 14th century Hauz Khas monument. Open from sunrise to sunset, the ground is always filled with gossiping village women, cricket playing boys, camera-carrying tourists, picnicking school children, young lovers, gangs of guitarists, and loners.
Like the rest of Delhi, the village has its rich and poor pockets. Hindus dominate one part of it; Muslims hold the other. The front of the village has restaurants and cafes, apart from boutiques, curio shops and art galleries. The other side, seldom frequented by tourists and shoppers, has a community of migrants, some of whom hawk street food in nearby neighbourhoods.
Being in the city’s heart, and yet far from its chaos, the scenic village is becoming the preferred residential choice for creative people like painters, writers, designers, musicians, and documentary filmmakers. No wonder then that the area is seeing a construction boom. Landlords are continuously adding floors to their houses to get more tenants. The wall posters with such notices have become common:
One beautiful room on the third floor with a view of the monument. Attached bathroom for single/two people. Fully furnished with double bed, mattresses, AC, fridge, TV, geyser etc.
Easygoing and whimsical, this series of sketches hopes to meander through a unique place that will give a sense of this rapidly changing city.
A house in the village