[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The tiled floor has got a new pattern. It is carpeted with hundreds of paper plates. Each plate is filled with sliced fruits and a piece of fried kachori.
The Delhi Walla is at the women’s part of the Jamaat Khana mosque in the Sufi shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. It is a listless afternoon in Ramzan, the Islamic season of fasting that commemorates the month when the Quran is believed to have been sent down from heaven and revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Preparations are at full swing in the shrine for the evening’s Iftari meal.
These portions will be served in the courtyard just outside this mosque where a great number of people will sit down in neat rows to break the fast. At the moment the prayer hall is looking like a makeshift dining area with rusty old steel almirahs lined up beside the walls. A khadim, one of the shrine’s many hereditary caretakers, is seated on a chair, presiding over the preparations. A couple of women are huddled in one corner, slicing melons. Two boys of school-going age are quietly filling up the plates with pieces of that summer fruit. But samosas are still to arrive and somebody has to make gallons of Roohafza rose drink.
Suddenly a fly lands on a plate and appears to dig into a fleshy piece of mango. If only she were a fasting believer.
Wait until the evening please