Life in Delhi’s prettiest neighborhood.
[Text by Nina Warglien and Charlotte Liebenow; photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Note to the reader: This piece is written by two young fashion designers from Europe. Nina Warglien and Charlotte Liebenow live in a monument-facing apartment in Hauz Khas Village.
It has been three weeks now since we landed in this challenging city.
Until now we have been always telling you the bright side of it. But they say never judge a book from the cover. So we enlighten you by telling about the other side, too.
As you may or may not know, here in Delhi all the housekeeping is done by maids. They clean the floor, wash your dishes, wash your clothes, and underwear, too. They can even cook for you and take the trash out. Basically they do everything, and you pay almost nothing.
After three weeks we realized that maybe it was a bit stupid for us to refuse this service. We have a small flat and we thought we could manage everything by ourselves. Too bad the tools we are so used to back home in Europe does not really exist for us here (think vacuum cleaner, washing machine, iron, drying racks etc). This made everything more complicated.
Anyway we tried our best.
The real story starts now.
One day Charlotte decided to wash the floor (this happened one Wednesday). As there was no vacuum cleaner, she had to play the Cinderella of the situation–knees on the floor and a wiping cloth in the hands. She made the floor clean and neat.
On Friday night, just before going to bed, Nina stepped on something. It was a golden chain with two pendants (a Scorpion and a Christian symbol). She first asked Charlotte if it was hers. The answer was no. We started asking a few people who had been to our flat. Nobody claimed it. Charlotte began to panic while Nina began her investigations on the meaning of it. The funny thing was that Nina is a Scorpion and Charlotte is Christian. People started telling us about ghost stories. Charlotte continued to panic. Nina decided it ought to be a good ghost to have left us some signs of its presence.
What happened next was a series of unfortunate events.
Nina’s credit card stopped working. A few days later Charlotte’s card also stopped working. Nina lost her keys. Nina’s shoes got ripped. Nina got sick. Twice. Life went on. Until we ended up not being able to buy ourselves even one mango, since it was too expensive (30 cents). Yes, that’s how broke we were. Life started getting hard and a bit depressing. I thought people could feel our bad aura even from far away.
One evening we couldn’t afford to get ourselves a tuc tuc home ( 20 cents) because we spent our very last cash for some bottles of drinkable water (1,50 euros). So we had no choice but to walk all the way home. After refusing the mango because it was too expensive, after dropping all the bottles on the floor because our bags tore away, we heard a voice from the other side of the street–“Ma’am Ma’am!” A tuc tuc driver was calling us from the other side of the street. Charlotte replied, “Bhayà (brother) we have no money! Really! It is not a joke”. Still he insisted saying he wanted to drive us home for free. Nina got suspicious of the good intentions of the Bhayà, but still we decided to trust him—after all we could always jump out in case of….
The Bhayà turned out to be a nice man. He even thanked us in the end–we still do not know why since it was he who helped us. Nevertheless we wished him all the best in life and felt that maybe good luck and good karma finally was back by our side.
In Hauz Khas Village, stay positive.
A series of curious incidents in the Village