City Moment – Concert Hall Audience, Urs Mahal

City Moment – Concert Hall Audience, Urs Mahal

The remarkable Delhi instant.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It is evening. Purple fairy lights are strung along a row of flower pots. The musicians are seated on a makeshift stage. The main stage is occupied by a few grave-looking men. One of them has a red rose tucked in his cream sherwani.

The Delhi Walla is in Urs Mahal, an assembly hall in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. Suddenly, a loudspeaker stirs to life. It is the sound of harmonium. The musicians get their act together and begin to perform a qawwali.

The sound controller, stationed beside his hefty equipment, betrays no sign of feeling. But the eminences on the main stage gently bob their heads. The man with the red rose is moved enough by the sacred music to lift his arm in apparent ecstasy. He smiles at the audience. But the audience in the large hall consists of only a dozen people. It is a moving moment.

The music lovers