Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire - Inam Khan,  Sir Syed Road

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Inam Khan, Sir Syed Road

Into a citizen’s heart.

[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]

He restores torn clothes, for he is a rafoogar—belonging to a diminishing segment of tailors who specialize in the art of darning. A yumna-paar dweller of Khureji, Inam Khan shuttles daily to Old Delhi’s Sir Syed Road, settling outside a dry cleaning establishment, with lazy well-fed street dogs lounging around him. After hushing a barking dog to quiet down, the soft-spoken gent agrees to become a part of our Proust Questionnaire series, in which citizens are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore our distinct experiences.

Your favourite qualities in a person.
The ability to be happy.

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
To attentively listen to my dil ki baat (heartfelt talk), to share with me their own heartfelt thoughts, and not to tell my dil ki baat to others.

Your main fault.
I’m unable to reach anywhere on time.

Your favourite occupation.
I used to sell shawls. I liked that business very much. It collapsed.

Your idea of happiness.
When I earn a good amount of money.

Your idea of misery.
It has already happened. Papa died, two brothers died, a sister died. I was broken, wouldn’t talk to people… slowly I recovered.

Where would you like to live?
My district Najibabad. But no possibility of settling there. My two daughters and my son are undergoing their education in Delhi schools.

Your heroes in real life.
Shahista, my missus. She changed me. I used to be full of tension before our marriage in 2002.

Your favourite food and drink.
Bharwa karela, lassi.

Your favourite names.

What do you hate the most?

What is your present state of mind?
I’m focusing on the sari I’m mending.

Your motto in life.
I moved to Delhi from Najibabad in 1993, dreaming of becoming a bada admi (big man), and I did accomplish some successes, but then it all went wrong. I have to bring my life back to what it used to be.