Home Sweet Home – Tailor “Master” Javed Iqbal’s Dwelling, Chitli Qabar Chowk
A new house.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The mattress is spread across the floor. The cooking gas cylinder is in the kitchen, already connected to the double-burner gas range. Two plastic buckets are in the bathroom. All their clothes are still inside the suitcase, though.
The couple moved into the new house some hours ago, with their infant daughter, here in Old Delhi’s Chitli Qabar Chowk.
Tailor “Master” Javed Iqbal is 34. His wife, Rubina Khan, is 26. Their daughter, Rida, was born in August last year.
It is evening. The baby is asleep on her mother’s lap. The mother is sitting cross-legged on the mattress. The father is standing in the corner. The first-floor room is filled with sounds of the street coming from outside even though the windows are closed.
A long-time Gurgaon resident, Mr Iqbal had been employed in a series of boutiques over the years. Two weeks back, he started his own venture in Chitli Qabar in partnership with a Walled City entrepreneur. The new home, taken on rent, is a spit-and-swear away from Jhinjhanvi Designer Boutique, his establishment.
After conferring with each other, the couple agree to talk of their dreams that have been reignited in the excitement of settling into a new address.
First, Javed Iqbal speaks: “I arrived in the Delhi region from my UP town more than 20 years ago with nothing but one set of black pant-shirt, which I would wash every Friday. I learned tailoring at an export house factory in Gurgaon. Finally, now my own boutique! I hope it gives me enough money to help us buy a house in the area.”
Rubina Khan: “I will do all I can to raise my little daughter into a well-mannered, highly educated, independent person. I pray my husband’s boutique earns him great praise from the public for his karigari. He should be recognised by strangers on the streets. He must succeed so brilliantly that we never ever have to leave for any other place.”
The couple’s daughter will be into her sixth month three days later. They plan a “birthday party” that evening. Friends and relatives will come over from Lakshmi Nagar, Gurugram and their hometown Amroha.