City Life – Abdul Rehman, Old Delhi Romeo
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Love in the Walled City.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Abdul Rehman, 23, lives in Old Delhi. A shop assistant, he shared his secrets with The Delhi Walla while whiling away afternoon hours at his work place – a beads store in the Walled City’s bustling Turkman Gate bazaar.
Mr Rehman first met Ms Naz, 18, early in 2009 at Sheila cinema, one of the few single screen theatres left in the Capital. “I’d gone to watch Delhi 6, the movie. She was on the next seat,” he says. Before the first song started, he had already exchanged a few words with Ms Naz. Before the film ended, he had exchanged phone numbers. What followed was predictable: sms-es, phone chats, discrete meetings.
“Naz has chubby cheeks, thin lips, big eyes, sweet voice,” swoons Mr Rehman who has light-brown eyes, long nose, wavy hair and a Casanova past. “I’ve had many girl friends and have done all that you could do with a girl,” he says before adding, “But I have not done anything objectionable with Naz, my future bride.”
Mr Rehman sounds like a just-married man while talking of his current relationship status. “Naz is like my wife,” he says. “She daily rings up in the morning reminding that now I should take a shower, now I should have my breakfast, now I should leave for the work. At night, she calls me to make sure that I’m home and safe.” Each time Mr Rehman complains of a mild headache or catches a viral infection, she gets nervous.
Despite such domestic harmony, the couple meets only once in two weeks. Reason: Old Delhi is conservative and huge. Their homes are far apart. He lives in Galli Pahari Rajan in Chitli Qabar; she in Galli Sitara in Hauz Kazi. “But I watch Naz daily as she passes the store while going to study at a computer institute in Daryaganj,” Mr Rehman says. Then they only swap glances.
Why not more?
Mr Rehman whose father is buried at Dilli Gate graveyard has six brothers and two sisters. “The brother just younger to me knows about my affair and I suspect my Ammi too has some idea but I don’t want to take chances,” he says.
Instead they meet outside the Walled City. At V3S mall in Lakshmi Nagar, a trans-Yamuna neighbourhood, they eat burgers. In Surajkund, a city suburb, they take camel rides. “Sometimes she buy things for me, sometimes I buy stuff for her,” says Mr Rehman. Sometimes they watch films at Sheila or Delite.
Earning around Rs 5,000 each month, Mr Rehman hopes to double his income in two years. “Only then,” he says, “I would ask Ammi to go to Naz’s house with the marriage proposal.” Inshallah.
Thinking of his love
Looking for his love
Not alone in the world