City Home - Rishabh's Installation, Central Delhi

City Home – Rishabh’s Installation, Central Delhi

City Home - Rishabh's Installation, Central Delhi

Homemade biennale.

[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]

You don’t necessarily need to go to Venice or Kochi to enjoy a biennale. Every home has its art installation, as unique as a fingerprint. Young bookseller Rishabh’s central Delhi apartment that he shares with parents (see photo) has a display case in the living room adorned with objects most important to him. Here’s a guided tour of some of the many elements making up the installation.

Artificial guldasta
Mumma purchased the plastic bouquet online. She also maintains a small garden in the balcony—real potted plants. Tulsi, sadabahar, curry leaves. lemon grass, kela, karela… she believes that plants help mantain sukh-shanti at home.

Father’s photo with singer Daler Mehendi
Before he became a full-time bookseller, daddy was a freelance event photographer. Once he was assigned for a shop inaugural ceremony where Daler Mehendi was the chief guest. One isn’t always so lucky to come so near to a celebrity. Naturally Daddy got himself clicked!

Surendra Mohan Pathak’s novel Ganda Khooon
This is the first novel on my Amazon page! I recently started selling books online. Now eagerly waiting for somebody to buy the book, after which I shall post it to its true home.

Mother’s kangans
Mumma got these as a wedding anniversary gift from her singing group Kanha ki Sakhiyan, her kirtan mandali—a group of women who sing bhajans every Tuesday in our neighbourhood Shiv Mandir. Mumma is the bhajan troupe’s lead dholak player!

Monet booklet
Found it in our warehouse. The cover shows some antique building Monet painted. The painting sings to me.

Hand-held table fan
Its battery-powered, so very helpful during power cuts. You hold it directly in front of your face. Mumma often uses it in the kitchen.

Sikh warrior Banda Singh Bahadur’s portrait
We are Hindu, but we also pray in Sikh gurudwaras. My dada-dadi, who came to Delhi from Multan in Pakistan following the partition, were Bandai Sikh, and at least one male member in our family is required to keep kesh, long hair.

Bhai’s trophy
This is from 2015, when younger brother Puneet topped the State Level Mental Math Quiz (Level 1, Class V to Class VI). He now helps me in the book business.

Mother’s photo
This is Mumma three days after her wedding in 1998: Daddy took the picture. He gave up the photography career soon after his wedding. Nothing much remains of his time as a photographer, except for this photo.