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Sanjha Chulla a shared space

I met Kamlesh whose family migrated to Khirkee gaon, Malviya Nagar after 1947 from Lahore . She was born after couple of years after her family migrated. She has a good knowledge about this place and have seen how the place and spaces have altered through time. She says this was Gaon/ Village and each house  had a front  and a back  courtyard. These were the main spaces where the women and the children met during the day and every evening.  Sanjha Chulla/ shared oven was one of the most favourite activities of  the women in the courtyard or shared space in the neighbourhood specially during the winter. There would be chullas / oven made of mud and cow dung placed in the front or the back space/ courtyard of their houses and women gathered there and enjoyed preparing  evening meals. Since the kitchen used to be outside, so there was a life outside the house where the women spent most of the day. They shared not only thoughts while cooking but also helped each other in shortening their cooking time by preparing the rotis for all the members who lived in the lane or sending a vegetable curry to the neighbour so that they could use the time for chatting and gossiping. Sometimes one would come and ask if anybody had prepared extra rotis or extra lentil to share. At the same time the women  shared their new design for woollen pullovers or how to make crochet lace with new motifs which one had learnt from one of the relatives while travelled to village. Kamlesh says that while being a child and a teenage they enjoyed a lot playing from one courtyard to another. Even if they would have extended their play area out side the courtyard or walk down the road side, nobody used to be scared as the roads remained empty and there were hardly any motor cars ,only there would be men on bicycles. She says she got married 25 years back and had to leave Malviya Nagar to Garhi Village, another village in South of Delhi. But they had to leave as the in-laws sold the land and divided the property between her husband and two more brother in laws. After that  they again moved to Khirkee Gaon to these DDA flats where she is living at present. She says that Khirkee Gaon/village has changed a lot since she has moved after her marriage and there is a drastic change with more migrants moving to this place in last 10 years. Earlier the DDA flats were one story buildings and there would be space for women meeting outside the doorstep on the Chabutra/ raised platform but now these buildings are turned into three stories.  It is hard to find people specially the women sitting outside the house on the raised platform as hardly there are any chabutra/ raised platform outside the house or too scanty space to put any charpais/ cot. Now everybody is specially during summer to get away from the heat they  sit and enjoy watching TV with cooler or ac( air conditioner) on  inside the room.

Further Kamlesh says,  since and there is no life outside the house which was there earlier and also there are migrants/ new people in this area who have moved from other parts of the country who do not stay for  a longer period, there is hardly any  relationship  built up now a days within the community.  In the evening  only time when the women are out and meet in the park for couple of hours and the young girls can be seen jogging and that also with headphones on their ears. She says I meet every evening a new face/person in the park.

Sreejata Roy

 

 

 

 

 

 




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