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Delhiwale: Home is where the workshop is

Abdul Sattar’s cramped workshop doubles as his bedroom at night as he sleeps surrounded by rusting machines and old LPs.

delhi Updated: Feb 16, 2018 10:55 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhiwale,Dilliwale,Abdul Sattar
Abdul Sattar at his metal-plating workshop.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

Close to midnight, Abdul Sattar is shutting his metal-plating workshop. In a few minutes, the cramped space becomes his bedroom.

This suits him fine. His extended family lives just down the street in their “very small” house in Old Delhi. “But, I like living alone, and they accept that.”

Only a faint light glows as we adjust to the darkness. Mr Sattar will soon catch some sleep in a bed lying in a corner where discoloured mats are piled one on top of the other.

During those long opening hours at Ganj Mir Khan street, he runs his business. Every day, this 60-something craftsman plies his skills over any number of rusting machines strewn about.

Over there we spot a radio, “a very old radio, but it no longer works. I’ve spent so many years with it that I don’t have the heart to throw it away.”

The merchant lost his leg in an accident a few years back and gets assistance from his wife, sons and grandchildren, who he meets every day. “Sometimes, I like to eat out with friends,” he says.

We look around the shop more closely. Isn’t that an old LP hanging from the roof, just behind the bed? Mr Sattar smiles. He grew up listening to songs on his record player “but I can’t get it to work anymore!” He’s got hundreds of these LPs of Hindi film songs that he isn’t planning to part with.

He now pulls up the shutter, bidding us farewell and rolls it down the moment we step outside. His home looks as lifeless as any shuttered shop on the dark, empty street.

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 10:54 IST