City Life – The Marvelous Sighting of The Bride’s Palki, Galli Chooriwallan
The long life of the past.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It was draped in silk, or so it seemed.
One cold night The Delhi Walla comes across a silver-plated palki (aka doli), the palanquin traditionally used to carry a bride from her parents’ home to her husband’s.
The Galli Chooriwallan street in the Walled City is empty at this late hour. The palanquin is lying on one side of the pavement, behind a Hero Honda motor bike. It is a rare sight. Palki belongs to the past. It is now only seen in old Hindi movies. These days brides are escorted alongside their husbands in cars decorated with flowers.
Nobody is carried in palki.
This palki, however, appears to be dressed for some formal occasion; its both sides are draped with the silk fabric.
Perhaps, an old custom is not dead, yet. Perhaps, there still exists the old world of kahar, the community whose men carried women from rich families in draped palanquins (one Old Delhi street continues to be called Galli Kallan Kahar). Perhaps, a wedding is in progress somewhere near and the palki is waiting to carry the bride to her new unseen life.
At least in one corner of this furiously transforming city, the world is still yesterday.
Long live yesterday