City Landmark – Everest Tailors, Rajiv Nagar, Gurgaon
The idea of home.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Millennium City of Gurgaon in the Greater Delhi Region is hundreds of miles away from Nepal, and the closest thing to Kathmandu you can find here might be the dusty neighbourhood of Rajiv Nagar. Indeed, it is home to a vast populace of Nepali immigrants. Every third shop on the main lane advertises swift money transfers to that country.
And then there is Everest Tailors.
What must the local Nepalis think on chancing upon a name that is the pride of their motherland?
Tailor Farukh Azam, the modest establishment’s owner and a “specialist in gents wear”, deeply reflects upon this question, and responds after a long pause, “Yes, my shop’s signboard must remind them of their country.”
A quick chat with the gentleman and his wife, Reshma, gives a nuanced understanding of home, especially in a time when so many of us leave our towns, sometimes our countries, to make a life elsewhere.
The middle-aged Mr Azam is not from Nepal. “I named it Everest because it’s sabse ooncha (the tallest) in the world.”
The soft-spoken tailor discloses his place of origin in the course of a long argument: “I am an Indian. I can live anywhere… the whole country is my home.” He pauses. “I have been living in Gurgaon for 25 years, so this is my home and yet…”
He implies that one still feels a special bond with the hometown where one was born. “I’m from Purvi Champaran in Bihar. When I visit my village, my heart sings on hearing everybody speak in the accent that is mine.”
Mr Azam’s wife regrets that they manage to travel to their village only once a year. “But now this is home,” she says, adding, “We are earning a living in this city and our children are studying in this city… they were born here.”
To many immigrants, the connection to the old home remains strong for many reasons, one of them being the fact that it still houses their aged parents. But Reshma argues that “how can our parents live in their old age without us? We have brought them here.”
Mr Azam nods, confirming that the Futuristic City has become his true home. “My Everest is here,” he says.
You might visit this landmark—since 1999—to get dresses made, but also to chat with this interesting couple on the idea and meaning of home. The shop on New Mata Road is open daily from 10am to 10pm.
The riddle of homeland