The pretty ornamental park in block B of the elegant Hazrat Nizamuddin East is surrounded by trees. All day long, they swell with the chirping of birds. The surrounding bungalows remain a cocoon of tranquility.
But this morning, a different tune is floating in the air. It cannot come from the red house in block A, whose inhabitant plays the piano daily accompanied by the accomplished voice of an opera singer. This sound is that of a bansuri. Has a flautist moved into one of these houses?
And suddenly, the mystery is solved. The musician is sighted. He carries a bouquet of flutes in his hand; the other hand holds the flute which he plays. The melody, inspired by an old Hindi movie song, is extraordinarily soothing. We are tempted to suspend what we are doing, and settle into a rocking chair with our eyes closed.
Qurban Ansari is a flute peddler. He commutes from Gurugram to Delhi daily with Hawaiian chappals. At 18, he has only a whisper of a soft mustache lining his upper lip. He lives with his parents near the city bus stop and supplements the family income with his peddling. âI can easily sell flutes in Gurgaon alone, but I like to travel great distances. Mr. Ansari’s voice is as dolce as his flute performance, although he has no family history with music of any kind. âThe father works in the office. Standing next to a parked car, the young man admits that his career as a salesman could have focused on any consumable item âbut I always liked the bansuriâ¦. even in my childhood, I repeatedly watched songs from movies in which the hero played bansuri. No one taught him to play the instrument. âI learned gradually by starting to sell these (flutes) two years ago. “
Mr. Ansari follows a different route every day. Today, he boarded a bus to Sarai Kale Khan, from where he crossed the train tracks to reach this central district of Delhi. He lands here four or five times a month. Showing his flutes, he informs that they are made in the city of Mathura. “This one is for ??750 and this one is for just ??40. “Very often,” instead of buying bansuri, people give me ??100 or even ??500 after hearing me play a song. Once, while walking around Block B, he was invited to a residence and was paid generously for his impromptu concert in a living room.
Mr Ansari plans to end the day at Mandi House “where I will get on the bus to Kapasheraâ¦ from there I will take a shared car back home”. It’s moving forward now, with a new tune – this one is a love song from the movie Dilwale Dulhania The Jayenge