City Life – Sabeena & Afzal, Sarai Kale Khan
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Both of them are fond of chai. And when they are having chai together, they drink it from the same glass.
“We feel good this way,” he says. “Because we like each other,” she says.
Afzal, 21, and Sabeena, 19, are in love. They also have their meals from the same plate.
This evening the couple is sitting on a bench, beside a chai stall, in Sarai Kale Khan. Afzal is wearing black jeans and a very tight brown shirt. Sabeena is in a blue kurta paired with a flowery dupatta. They married a year ago. “It was a love marriage,” she points out. “Our parents were not in favour of the marriage,” he points out. Afzal is a “beldar” (labourer) and Sabeena says that so is her father, adding, “I think our parents minded because we had known each other as little children.”
But the affair didn’t begin until the winter of 2019, during a trip to a bazar.
The lovers like many traits about each other. Sabeena lists a few about Afzal: “His hair style is very nice… I like the way he talks.” Afzal on Sabeena: “From where to start? Her nature is very nice. I like the fact that she always wears the dupatta.”
After their marriage, the couple started a new life together by renting a room, close to the houses of their parents. Every evening, after Afzal returns home, he helps Sabeena cook the dinner. “He works during the day, and yet he works at home too, to make life easier for me,” she says.
The couple occasionally has their share of discord. “When she doesn’t listen to my sensible advice,” he says. She gives the same reason.
A year of married life has altered both of them. “I have become more responsible, more hardworking,” he says, explaining that “I earn only 300 rupees daily… you can’t run a home on that… I will have to work even harder.” She says half-jokingly that “now I don’t have to suffer from mummy’s daat (scoldings.).”
The couple married in a public garden. The ceremony was attended by friends and relatives, and was officiated by a qazi saab. Pepsi and white rasgullas were served to the guests.
Soon, the chai gets over. They get up and leave for their home.
The life they share