City Landmark – Mansion With Seven Doors, Galli Chooriwallan
The magic of a cobwebbed house.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s as clear as a smog-free daylight that Snow White and her seven brothers lived in Old Delhi, more specifically here in Galli Chooriwallan.
This aged mansion could have been built only for them.
Count yourself. Seven doors.
Count the balconies, too. Eight—the extra one must be for our heroine.
Truth be told, nobody lives in this picturesquely crumbling house today. The locals indifferently walk past these deliciously discolored weather-bruised doors. They are beautiful but even more beautiful—however objectionable it may sound—are the extraordinarily-elaborate cobwebs clinging to the edges of these doors. Surely a work of several seasons, one can spend a long time in gazing upon the labyrinthine patterns of these dense netting, the translucent strands seeming to have been spun out of invisible air.
All these doors are locked, as if the family left for vacations and never returned. Muhammed Bilal, a local scrap dealer, talks of “an elderly couple living in the big house who died a few years ago.”
Before its last dwellers, the mansion sheltered scores of “working-class” families—-informs Gopal Bhai, a bookbinder. He says that the house originally belonged to a wealthy businessman who moved to Pakistan after the Partition.
One of the doors has a white skull cap casually tucked into its latch. Fruit vendor Saleem says “it’s been here for many, many years.”
If you gaze upon the house from across the street, it doesn’t appear to be deserted. You feel one of the doors may open any moment, with or without the Snow White.
Snow White’s address