City Reading – The Delhi Proustians XXV, Appetite Bakery
A la recherche du temps perdu.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Today is the 25th meeting of The Delhi Proustians, a club for Delhiwallas that discusses French novelist Marcel Proust. Every Monday evening for an hour we read his masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time.
Each week we meet in a new venue to dive into the atmosphere of Marcel’s novel.
It is 7 pm and The Delhi Walla is at Appetite German Bakery in Paharganj. When I first arrived in Delhi a few years ago to work as a waiter in a hotel, this bakery was my shelter from life’s various dissatisfactions. I would come here with a book and dream of becoming a published author. Today, I am a published author of four slim guidebooks on Delhi. A new book will be published by Penguin India in November 2012.
Still, there is no satisfaction. I want to meet the person I was when I first started coming to Paharganj. Would I like to go back in time by exchange places with that person?
As a stock trader from Vasant Kunj joins me, and as we belatedly celebrate Marcel Proust’s birthday (10 July) by cutting a croissant, and as I start taking photos of the fellow Proustian, of Lost Time and of the croissant, I do not yet know that the 8 GB SDFC card in the camera would declare itself ‘seriously damaged’ the next day. The thousands of pictures stored in it would be erased mysteriously.
The immediate past that I recorded as photographic images would be gone. The Sufi dargahs of Srinagar. The palaces of Rampur. The home-sick man I met outside Red Fort. Novelist Arundhati Roy whom I sighted sitting under an Amaltas. A fellow Proustian in Khan Market. The morning sight of Ghata Masjid. And this moment, too, which I am capturing through the camera.
Nothing endures. One day a fire might destroy my library. I might be exiled from this city.
If I could have foreseen the event of the next day, I would have re-read this passage by Proust:
With a slow and rhythmical movement it led him first this way, then that, towards a state of happiness that was noble, unintelligible, and yet precise. And then suddenly, having reached a certain point from which he was preparing to follow it, after a momentary pause, abruptly it changed direction, and in a fresh movement, more rapid, fragile, melancholy, incessant, sweet, it bore him off with it towards new vistas. Then it vanished.
But why feel the loss? One day I too will disintegrate.
The 26th meeting of The Delhi Proustians will take place on 6 August 2012. The venue will be announced closer to that date.
In search of lost time
I think you should call those images something fancy, like the “ceci n’est pas obscurite” series (after Magritte’s painting of that treacherous pipe).
I’m so sorry about the memory card, Mayank.
Sad news buddy. Data backup saves us from all these troubles.
Was a pleasure meeting you and liking the Proust you gave me..will update progress.
Can’t say am unhappy the pics were lost. 😉
p.s. Am a stock Trader not Broker.
Comments are closed.