Home Sweet Home – Prachi’s Rented Room, Roop Nagar
A woman’s world.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A small room stacked with books, a writing table, two single beds and two pairs of grilled windows. Plus, a terrace where she frequently strolls, gathers ideas and later jots them down in her journal.
This is her world in north Delhi’s Roop Nagar. A 20-year-old final year grad student in Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, she requested for only her first name to be used.
Prachi lives alone in this rented apartment (she does have a mostly absent roomie). Here she spent the entire duration of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, though “I have to leave this room soon,” she reveals, her voice tinged with a hint of regret. “My college life will come to an end with the online exams in July.” Then she’ll have no choice but to pack her books, clothes and her ukulele, and return to her parents’ house in neighbouring Faridabad city “where I don’t know until how long I might have to stay… it all depends on the pandemic.”
Prachi admits she will certainly miss her current life of being on her own: reading, writing, ordering books on net and patiently waiting for their delivery. And watching “all the sunrises and sunsets,” as well as the shifting daylight as it traverses around the interiors of her room from morning to evening.
The young woman will be missing this locality of Roop Nagar, too. “It is true to its name, very beautiful. Quiet. Mostly residential. Lots of trees. Flowers blooming all year long. Many birds.”
Standing by her writing table, she shows her journals—one is in English, the other is in Hindi. These days, apart from writing poetry, she is reading a lot of short stories “for I soon plan to write them myself.”
Prachi answers a set of questions The Delhi Walla been asking people from diverse backgrounds as a way of getting a sense of day-to-day experiences during this history-making coronavirus pandemic.
Things you’ll do after the pandemic is over.
When this ends, I will walk in the crowded lanes of Chandni Chowk, looking upwards at the brilliant balconies and arches of seemingly regular houses and shops, drinking glass after glass of mohabbat sherbet. I will stroll along the lanes of Lodhi Art district, and inhale colorfulness to my heart’s delight. I will watch a sunset from the roof of Indian Coffee House. I will make love to this city as I have done for the last few years. And eventually but surely, I will go to the mountains.
The view outside your window at the moment.
Outside my window is spread out the terrace, at the end of which two chairs sit facing each other. Next to them, just now, two sparrows have landed, and are fighting over their shared meal of a single lizard. From across the road, I can see the giant tree that has changed from blood-red to cotton-white to moss-green in the past few months. Behind it, the color of the sky has cast a pale languor upon all existence, as it seems, and I am convinced to be one with it and to embrace inactivity this evening.
What’s going on in your mind right now?
Just now I was remembering how convinced I was as a kid of the greatness coming my way. I was sure that life would be wonderful. Even as I could not map a path to this greatness, whatever that was, one could always depend on chance – some brilliant accident, some coincidence that will bring life to glory. As we grow up, we simply stop expecting miracles and cease to believe in magic, because it does not happen. Or, is it the other way around?
Objects in the house that give you solace in self-isolation.
I do not have a house right now, but in the small room that I’ve rented, there is not much to turn to except books. They’ve laid siege on my bed, my desk and everywhere else. I turn to my journal, that I sewed myself when everything was shut down. Sometimes I dance, poorly but joyfully. In my room there are two windows, and so there is enough light to give one brilliant company all day long. The terrace is right outside my room, and I make several trips to it in a day, the sky has indeed proved a constant companion and a source of comfort.
A room of her own