City Landmark - Hafizji ki Clock Shop, Gali Choori Wallan

City Landmark – Hafizji ki Clock Shop, Gali Choori Wallan

City Landmark - Hafizji ki Clock Shop, Gali Choori Wallan

Funeral blues, and resurrections.

[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Stop all the clocks, silence the street sounds, and bring out the janaza, let the mourners come. We thought that it would last forever, we were wrong.

For a long time, the beautiful clock repair shop stood at the mouth of Old Delhi’s Gali Choori Wallan. It has vanished, along with its massive collection of stately old wall clocks. The shop closed some weeks ago.

The passing of the landmark has progressed into new beginnings. The three venerable brothers—who would be seen hard at work inside the shop, diligently concentrating on those precious heirlooms—have launched their own clock-and-watch repairing shops.

Riyaz Khan, who specialises in hand-wound wrist watches, has his new establishment in Gali Surkh Poshan This afternoon, it is shuttered, the shutter newly painted in blue. People in the vicinity inform that the shop is still being readied, and is expected to open within days. Gayaz Khan, who specialises in “quartz wali wristwatches,” has his new establishment located further ahead in Gali Choori Wallan, opposite Metro Hotel: This afternoon, his son is ensconced inside the small shop, while he himself is briefly away on an errand. Ayaz Khan, who specialises in wall clocks, has his new establishment in Gali Badliayan. His shop is the grandest of the three, and closest to the spirit of the original shop. This afternoon, it is crammed with hundreds of wall clocks. They are nailed on the walls, they are stacked up one upon another on the floor (see photo). Many clocks happen to have their weathered wooden bodies bearing the bruises of time.

The three brothers picked up the intricacies of watch and clock repairs from their father, Muhammed Ilyasi, who had founded the original shop in 1972. Since he was informally known as Hafiz ji; his shop gradually became popular as Haafiz ji ki Dukaan The late founder had started his clock-career in a Khan Market watch shop.

Sitting at his Gali Badliyan workshop, Ayaz Khan notes that many of these clocks were made 70-80 years ago in Europe and the US. Some of these have been sent by their owners for repairs, he says. Many others are for sale. He now picks up a clock, and keeps it on his lap, saying that the old Haafiz ji ki Dukaan is to be replaced by a pharmacy.