Inside the walls.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One late morning The Delhi Walla enters the home of French filmmaker Thomas Ellis. He lives in the exclusive Sujan Singh Park Apartments in Central Delhi.
Raised in the 1940s, this is a tree-lined neighborhood of redbrick houses. It was most famous for being the address of late author Khushwant Singh.
Mr Ellis’s apartment is reached through a dimly-lit staircase. The landing to his floor has a small semi-circular balcony with iron railing. It looks down to a garden.
Mr Ellis moved here recently from his old home in South Delhi. The apartment still feels somewhat vacant. While tables, chairs and beds have been laid out in their respective places and each room has acquired its distinct personality, the home seems only partially inhabited. The windows have no curtains.
One room is completely bare except for dozens of books lined up on the floor. Its enormous fireplace looks out of place in a city that remains unbearably hot almost throughout the year.
Mr Ellis’s bedroom primarily consists of tree-facing windows. It is bathed in sunlight. The world outside seems distant.
A guest room has books lying carelessly on one side of the bed.
The balcony behind the drawing room shows aspects of Sujan Singh Park that could not be seen by a bystander on the road outside. It offers rear-side views of other houses in the neighborhood. Every morning Mr Ellis sits on the windowsill here to read the International New York Times.
The spacious drawing room is divided into two distinct spaces; the one closer to the kitchen is taken over by a dining table.
The dreamiest characteristic of this house is that every window frames a view of trees. While within the walls themselves, every corner feels like an island of utter quietness.
This is a vastly different Delhi.
The First World