City Moment – Friends from Kabul, Lodhi Gardens
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Two thousand four hundred years after it was written, The Delhi Walla bumps into somebody actually reading the classic Chinese text Tao Te Ching. And poring over it in Farsi, no less.
This formidable book is totally captivating Afghan student Waheed Hasham the other day when I run into him and two friends in Lodhi Gardens. They’d all flown in from Kabul to celebrate university graduation by absorbing the delights of Delhi.
“We’ve got this long list of things to do,” says Mr Hasham in English, brandishing a pink slip scrawled in Persian. We learn he’s a great reader. “I’m a fan of Balzac… I read him in Farsi.”
Inevitably, the friends can’t help comparing our city with their home town. “There’s more genuine poverty here,” observes one of the friends. Najman Faizi suggests that in Kabul “some people just dress like beggars to attract sympathy.”
The third friend opines that Delhiites actually stop at traffic lights, unlike the good folk back home. “I’m so impressed,” says Shoaib Mohammady.
The Delhi holiday is testing their friendship, since it’s the first time they’ve been with each other continuously. They’ve got varying expectations while in our fair city.
Mr Faizi loves to while away time in open spaces, while Mr Mohammady wants to hang around a swimming pool. In fact, they’ll be heading for a water park in Noida the next day.
Then there’s a pilgrimage. The guys are fans of the poet Bedil so will visit his tomb — yes, not many people know he’s buried in our city! But right now, they want to find a bookshop.
“We’ve heard there’s a place called Khan Bazaar where the bookshops are great,” says Mr Mohammady. The friends then wander off, chatting in Farsi. It’s a beautiful moment.
Foreigners in our city