City Style – Hafizullah’s Corduroy, Old Delhi
Style in the city.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Many people flock to Old Delhi for Red Fort or Chandni Chowk. If only they can spot the equally unique Hafizullah.
This 80-year-old retired darzi, or tailor, is the only one in the Walled City to wear corduroy trousers daily without fail–at least that has been The Delhi Walla‘s observation. The soft-spoken gentleman stands out starkly from the rest of the crowd in all his sartorial elegance, more so because most men in this part of the city are seen either in pajamas or lungis.
“I keep switching between my red and brown corduroys,” he reveals, looking amused at the interest being shown on his everyday dressing. This morning, while enjoying his customary walk near Galli Sooinwallan street, Mr Hafizullah is wearing a maroon shirt over brown corduroys. Needless to say, he wears clothes that he stitches himself. “I use one pair of corduroys for four days straight and then I wash the pants… myself of course.” He gets into his black corduroys for the next four days.
The question is whether Mr Hafizullah wears anything else. “I wear the pajama but only at night and I never ever put on a lungi,” he declares, though his mild tone seems to denote no disrespect to those popular costumes.
While he has always been wearing pants, Mr Hafizullah became obsessed with corduroys only five years ago after giving up professional tailoring. “People say it looks good on me.”
He then gives another reason of his own—“corduroys dhoop mein rang badalti hain (corduroys change their shade under the sun)!”
The sartorialist now enters Malle tea stall for his morning chai. Everybody in the shop greets him respectfully as Bade Miyan. The ex-tailor nods absentmindedly and settles down on his usual corner table, his corduroy catching the eye in all its exclusivity.
Walled City’s corduroy man