City Moment – Book Launch Ceremony, Matia Mahal
The beautiful Delhi instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is about noon. The Delhi Walla enters the home of Haji Miyan and his brother Amir Dehlvi. They live in Matia Mahal, a congested neighbourhood in the Walled City. I’m carrying a copy of my new book, Nobody Can Love You More: Life in Delhi’s Red Light District.
Haji Miyan, who runs a hotel near Jama Masjid, is not to be seen. Amir Bhai, a self-published Urdu poet, is performing his afternoon prayer. I open the book and scribble a short message on the title page.
Dear Haji Miyan,
You and your poet brother Amir Dehlvi are some of my favorite Delhiwallas… people like you both are the reason why I love this otherwise terrible city. With love and respect.
mayank austen soofi
As Amir Bhai finishes his namaz, I approach him. His beard is grey, his eyes are kind.
Handing him Nobody Can Love You More, I say, “Sir, can you please launch my book?”
Amir Bhai flips through it, looks hesitant, but at the next moment, he nods.
I request him to pose with the book.
He agrees. It is a beautiful moment.
A very important occasion