City Moment – A London Potter’s Delhi Adventure, Paharganj
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is hot and she is in white.
One summer afternoon The Delhi Walla sees a foreign woman in the hotel district of Paharganj. The woman is walking down a cramped alley lined with travel offices and lazy dogs. She had arrived early that day from London. Introducing herself as Daphne Carnegy, the tourist confesses that it is her first time in the city. It soon emerges that she has intimate bonds with the Raj-era Delhi. “My mother’s sister, Cynthia, was married to the Vicar of Delhi, Jim Tytler…” Ms Carnegy’s uncle had also acted in the Merchant-Ivory film Shakespeare Wallah.
(Later that night, a cursory Google search reveals that the woman traveler I met is a well-known ceramic artist in UK, and that she once worked at the Faber & Faber publishing house. Her brother, a titled gentleman, is a globally-renowned expert on Wagner.)
Meandering along the alley, Ms Carnegy is looking quite tired. She says she could not sleep even briefly during the long flight from Europe to India. Just then a happy little girl in white noisily runs down the alley. She suddenly turns towards the woman from England and spreads out her arm. The woman in white instinctively shakes hands with the girl in white. It is a beautiful moment.
Correction: The words “quiet tired” were later changed to “quite tired”.
Re-establishing bonds with the Vicar’s city