Mission Delhi – Poonam Malik, Chawri Bazaar
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Hers is a visit of nostalgia. Of happy care-free days.
The padlocked room where she once dwelled, so very long ago, now seems forlorn and neglected. But Poonam Malik treasures affectionate memories.
“No less than 11 of us lived in that small room back then–and so very happily!” recalls Ms Malik.
Now a suburban homemaker, she had moved into her relatives’ room at age 16 as a college student; living in what she describes as a loving environment here in Old Delhi’s Chawri Bazaar. “I stayed with them until my marriage at age 26.” Since then she has resided in Faridabad with her husband.
This is her third visit to the room once owned by her uncle, now deceased. She recalls the chatter of families resounding through the crowded building all those years ago. Pointing to another locked door, she says “it was our neighbour’s house.”
A tree now grows inside.
Over the years the area has become more commercial, with far fewer private dwellings. “So many shops now!” Leaning beside the old door, Ms Malik, 60, reckons her life has served its purpose.
“My time is up, and so is this dilapidated structure that should now be pulled down…something else should come in its place.”
[This is the 164th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
In search of Lost Chawri