City Landmark – Hafizji’s Old Clock Shop, Old Delhi
Lost time regained.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This is truly an inner sanctum for all those who pine for old time.
Dozens of old clocks bearing unfamiliar names line the walls of this watch repair establishment in Old Delhi.
That East End clock looks like something from a Jane Austen TV series. While the brand name Smiths sports an elegant wooden case. The probable instinct is to buy one of them.
Alas, they’re not for sale. “They belong to my customers and are here to be repaired,” explains shopkeeper Muhammad Gayaz, who himself is wearing two wristwatches.
A set of miniature auzaar (tools) for watch repairing hang on the wall beside him. These blackened instruments look like some magical weapons in a fairy tale.
Mr Gayaz learned the intricacies of watch and clock repairs from his father, Muhammed Ilyasi, who launched the shop, Haafizji ki Dukaan, in 1972. He came to be known as Hafizji after learning to recite the entire Quran by heart. The late founder started his career in a Khan Market watch shop that shut down long ago.
After passing away in the 1990s his knowledgeable son succeeded him, who also inherited the legacy of diligently reading the Quran. On any particular day the customers may find him reading a miniature version of the holy text under the light of a vintage table lamp. Which itself looks like a collector’s item.