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A retiring refuge in this noisy city.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
There are better islands in Delhi than your bedroom for a peaceful afternoon nap. Like the sufi shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
Reach around 2 pm. The prayer of Zuhr is over and Maghrib is about four hours away. No unnecessary crowd at this time. No awestruck visitors. No Lonely Planet tourists. No qawwals. No music. No noise. Only the devout. Here is your chance to be yourself.
No one disturbs anyone (if you are in grief and weeping, you are left alone). It is tempting to immediately lie down and cushion yourself into the comforts of deep sleep.
But first things first. Make your haziri at Amir Khusro’s and Hazrat Nizamuddin’s shrines—in that order. Do the little rituals if you have to: kissing the pillars, eating the rose petals, seeking favours from the sarkar, clicking the pictures and so on. Once done, enter the red-coloured masjid on the left. It is dark and cool. Do your prayers or simply watch the faithful doing their namaaz number. Soon you would be sleepy. There’s a door on the right. Enter.
Here’s a sunny courtyard with a roof. Men sleeping here and there (women have a quarter on the left of the masjid). The dargah sounds are subdued here. Birds chirping somewhere. Quiet otherwise. Now lie down.
If you have a shoulder-bag, make it your pillow. Read a book if you have one. Are you in love? If yes, close your eyes and you would see your beloved’s face. If tempted, send the beloved a short sms (“I’m in the dargah and thinking of you”). Now switch off the phone (or shut off the book). Sweet dreams.
Best time 1 pm to 4 pm
Shhh, he is sleeping
The comforting masjid
The afternoon worshippers
The sufi glance
No time for sleep
The prayer call is far away
O my Hazrat