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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Delhiwale: Sewing-machine heaven

The machines were left for repair at Mansoor’s shop where they have been lying for decades, waiting to be taken home

delhi Updated: Jul 18, 2019 13:33 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Mansoor Khan at his shop in Chitli Qabar Bazaar.
Mansoor Khan at his shop in Chitli Qabar Bazaar. (Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

You’re forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled across a sewing machine museum.

These dust-covered machines were turned over to this workshop for repair, sometimes years ago, and never collected. It’s an amazing collection that even includes a Singer from the early 1940s.

“I could have thrown them all out,” says workshop owner Mansoor Khan, “but then you never know! Customers may still turn up claiming their machines.”

A machine mechanic by profession, Mr Khan’s shop in Chitli Qabar Bazaar was started by his father. It thrived for many years. But nowadays sewing own clothing has gone out of fashion.

“On a lucky day, I make about ₹1,000, but yesterday I made only ₹250,” he reports.

The workshop in Old Delhi has an atmosphere of its own, with dozens of old rusting machines stacked one on top of the other, including brand names we’ve never heard of. Some machines have been here for more than 20 years.

His two sons have shown no interest in the family business. “The elder is doing software engineering and the younger is learning Japanese.”

They keep nudging Mr Khan to consider closing the shop. So far, he hasn’t. “My sisters insist I shouldn’t let father’s legacy die as long as I’m alive.”

First Published: Feb 28, 2018 10:35 IST