City Moment – The Circumcision, Ghaffar Manzil
The beautiful Delhi instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One evening The Delhi Walla attended the khatna, the circumcision, of a Muslim boy. The ceremony took place at his home in the South Delhi neighbourhood of Ghaffar Manzil.
Adjusting the topi on his head, the 10-year-old said, “I’m not scared.” He was dressed in white.
It was the sunset hour and the living room was filling up with guests – all were men. After the barber arrived, the boy’s father put a garland around his son’s neck, asking him to take off his pajama. A red lungi was tied around his legs.
The mother watched from behind a door.
The men sat in a circle around the boy. He was made to sit on his father’s lap. The barber took out an injection and an ustara, a knife-like equipment. An elderly guest closed the boy’s eyes with his palm, saying, “It will not hurt.” The others held his legs.
One of the invitees started sweating profusely.
After what seemed like a long time, the boy said, “Is it done?”
The barber said, “Shh.”
The boy said, “O, it is like as if someone is tickling me.”
The father laughed.
Making a face, the boy cried out — “Allah!”
The father said, “You are now being bandaged.”
The boy smiled weakly. He was gently laid on a mattress. The mother placed a few rose petals on her son’s red lungi.
The guests, sitting next to the boy, were served with chai and imarti. The boy stayed silent.
A few minutes later, the guests left. The mother turned on the TV and handed the remote to the boy. He clicked through a number of channels until he reached a cartoon channel. It was a beautiful moment.
Through a rite