Hauz Khas Series – A House in the Village, Chapter 1
Life in Delhi’s prettiest neighbourhood.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The terrace of my apartment looks to the ruins of Hauz Khas, which were originally built as a mosque and madarsa by emperor Feroze Shah Tughlaq in 14th century. Tughlaq was buried in the same compound. The dome of his tomb soars above the other domes.
The monument complex is landscaped with grass, which is scarred with dozens of brown patches. The entrance gateway has vines growing on its stony top.
A visitor to the monument takes in the tombs, pillared halls, and dark chambers one at a time. From my terrace, I see it in its entirety, including the hauz, the water tank.
The apartment is situated adjacent to the monument’s boundary wall. The room is on the third floor. Sitting on the desk and looking outside gives an impression that the house too is a part of the monument complex.
The room has a large glass window. Sometimes I woke up at midnight and without even raising myself from the bed I could see Feroze Shah’s dome washed in the moon’s white shine. “Is it a dream?” I might mutter to myself, before snuggling back to share the insensibility of the room’s furniture and books.
In the morning’s pale blue light, the ruins look like soft silhouettes of their original selves. They solidify as the daylight brightens; their color changes from grayish-black to brown-red. Still sleepy, I might lazily sit on the bed, the arms on the windowsill, the eyes following the green parrots as they fly across the monument. Occasionally, I would be distracted by the distant roar of the airplane, flying low, perhaps preparing to land in Delhi.
Further beyond are the trees of Deer Park, self-contained in their world. Silence reign upon their leafy tops. The varying sizes of these trees and their different shades of green appear like careless brush strokes of an impressionist painter.
During the day, the ruins are filled with tourists and picnickers. Neighborhood boys play cricket on the ground. Their cries drown out the chirping of birds. Then I close the terrace door and turn off the world.
[This is the first part of the series A House in the Village]
Bird’s eye view
The rooftop view
It might rain
As the bird flies
Green & blue
Up the stairs
The room with a view
Unique vantage point
Guest in the terrace
Twilight in Delhi