City Home – Ruined Bungalow, Somewhere in Delhi
A deserted home.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The metal gate is splotched with red dots of rust. The pane-less windows on the first floor stare out like open wounds. Cobwebs are hanging from window grills.
It is said you can see the world in a grain of sand — in the same way, you may see your teeming city in an empty house that once was full of life. Such as this deserted bungalow, somewhere in Delhi. No need to know its GPS. You’ll find versions of this scattered across the city. Such residences lie in this state because either the owners are living elsewhere, or due to a host of other reasons. The point of this story is to gently tempt you to look out for such a landmark in your part of the city, and to gaze at it from outside, without transgressing, and chart the longitudes and latitudes of such a dwelling in the geography of time.
This particular bungalow is sandwiched between inhabited houses, their walls glowing in coats of glossy expensive paints. This building though is standing like one of the dead cities of Delhi. A ruin like Purana Qila, whose rugged, mossy monuments give away little sense of life in their hey days, but rather testify of their decline and fall.
The house has a door of jaali on one side. From outside the gate, you easily see a wooden rack slumped against it. A couple of windows, on the upper floor, are blocked by plywood, while others are totally open, and all you see is the utter blackness of the rooms inside. As if instead of eyes, they were just holes on a person’s face. But in some other time, a face must had passed by this window.
The most affecting aspect of the house is the thick carpet of leaves lying in front. They have fallen over the course of several seasons, from a gigantic tree standing just outside. This afternoon the tree leaves are fresh green, but the fallen leaves on the porch are dry and in various shades of brown. In the center, a young plant has spread its green, leafy arms. As if to prove that in spite of adversities, life will create a place.
One day this house will give way to some other building. And then there will be no sign that another world existed before.
Seeing the city