Delhiwale: A door for birds in Galli Devidas

A walk in Old Delhi may not be easy but it can be immensely satisfying if you keep an eye out for curios like this pink door.

delhi Updated: Nov 22, 2017 12:16 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhiwale,Dilli wale,Old Delhi
The old and seemingly derelict doorway in Galli Devidas is home to many pigeons.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

The charm of Old Delhi is irresistible.

But not even die-hard romantics can ignore its filth. A walk in the bylanes, for instance, comes with the high probability of stepping over dead rats.

The effort to visit the Walled City does pay off though. You might occasionally come across things of breathtaking beauty, such as the old and seemingly derelict doorway that we spotted the other day in Galli Devidas — a short alley branching out of Galli Prem Narayan.

The object of our fancy looks like a modernist art installation with a pink door and bricks peeking all around it. What makes it different from the area’s other beautiful doors is that it is also home to several birds. Hordes of pigeons dwell in metal boxes beneath the balcony’s brackets.

A young man — member of one of the nine families living here — appeared at the doorway. Mohsin explained that the bird houses have been here “long before I was born, and that was 20 years ago.”

He referred to the metal boxes as ‘ghosla’, or bird nests, adding that everyone in the big mansion does their bit to feed the birds.

And, yes, the building is more than 100 years old, though the original owners are, of course, long gone. “Most of us here run small businesses in the neighbourhood.”

Just then a pigeon fluttered out of the ‘ghosla’ and perched on a dangerously low power cable, as if it was a tree branch. Mohsin was still puzzled by our fascination with the doorway. Finally, he suggested that “perhaps if I did not live here and see it all the time, I would find these doorway birds lovely too.”

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 10:56 IST