City Moment – The Middle Lane Midnight Dance, Khan Market
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s about 11 in the night, too early to be so quiet in Khan Market. Perhaps because this is not a weekend. Bored doormen sitting inside darkened showrooms, which have been closed for the day, are watching videos on their mobile phones.
Suddenly a song wafts from the Middle Lane.
Somebody is singing the old Kishore Kumar song Raat kali ek khawab mein aayi from the 1971 hit Buddha Mil Gaya. The performance is melodic but obviously not of a professional crooner. It’s more like that of one of those bold cousins who are always the first ones to sing in family weddings. The guitar sounds, however, are more affecting, each strain hitting like a pang in the heart.
The singer is standing on one side of the lane. Hidden in shadows, he is looking more like a silhouette. Just then, three young men pass by. Two of them stop, watch the guy singing and then they start to dance, slowly, holding hands.
A few passersby stop to watch the dancing couple. Some take photos on their mobile.
The song ends.
One of the dancers discreetly keeps a hundred rupee note in a cap lying beside the singer’s feet.
The singer acknowledges the gift with a slight bow.
The dancers walk away. The street is empty again.
Introducing himself as Anshul Sinha, the singer says, “I’m a student in Jamia (Millia Islamia University)… sometimes I come to Khan Market to earn a little pocket money… I’m from Patna.”
He then begins another Kishore Kumar song. It is a beautiful moment.
The Kishore Kumar state of mind