A la recherche du temps perdu.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Today is the 28th meeting of The Delhi Proustians, a club for Delhiwallas that discusses French novelist Marcel Proust. Every Monday evening for an hour we read his masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time.
Each week we meet in a new venue to dive into the atmosphere of Marcel’s novel.
It is 7 pm and The Delhi Walla is at the Indian Coffee House in Connaught Place. Because of its rundown furnishings, uniformed stewards and its earlier repute as the nucleus of Delhi’s intellectuals, this place seems to be owned by the past, rather than the present. I often come here hoping to find clues to a city that was.
Today, I’m with a new copy of Swann’s Way. I purchased it from my sojourn in Paris, the city of Proust.
A true work of art devotes itself faithfully to a particularity, and then it transcends that limitation to affect the feelings of people who have no link to that particularity. Proust’s novel, set in France, is such a specimen. As a Paris-returned Delhiwalla, I hope I will now see a more complicated vision in the novel in which Proust’s world that exists in the pages of his book will try to fuse with the Paris I saw with my eyes.
However, this evening we are not in the mood to read. I had announced that the first Proustian to reach the venue would be gifted a boxed set of Marcel Proust’s multi-volume novel. Ekta Talwar arrived a few minutes earlier than Abdul Muqhtadir. The six books are hers. Published by Modern Library, these are more than 4,000 pages. As a return gift, Ms Talwar presents us with an almond croissant (it’s the one I wrote about here).
The 29th meeting of The Delhi Proustians takes place on 1st October 2012.
Where Outside Wenger’s Bakery, A Block, Connaught Place Time 7 pm Nearest Metro Station Rajiv Chowk
A gift for life