It all started with a little bit of misunderstanding. I was walking down Dhol Gali when I saw him pointing in my direction. I wondered if he minded my camera so I smiled sheepishly and put it down. As I approached him he started complaining that I have ruined his business by parking a van in front of his roadside display of dhols.
That made me notice the van which was parked awkwardly in middle of the road and then an eclectic display of dholaks on the wall right behind the van. I politely explained that the van did not belong to me. It was his turn to wear sheepish smile. He apologized for his rant and settled down on his perch. He asked me if I would like to have tea. I asked for a conversation instead.
Aashiq Hussain – craftsman and part time singer – sets up his dholak shop right under that wall, out in the sun, out on the floor. He is a good storyteller too, perhaps the reason a lot of fellow shopkeepers hang around his roadside stand. He does not earn enough to afford a shop. He does not expect to earn enough in future either. He has found limited forums to perform as a singer. He does not expect to make it big in future either as he’s already in his twilight. But he still fights to live each day. He still lives to fight each day.