In October 2013, Aanchal Malhotra visited the home of her maternal grandfather in north Delhi’s Roop Nagar. She was accompanying photographer Mayank Austen Soofi, who was going to the house for a project he was working on. Malhotra, an artist who was living in Montreal and pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from Concordia University at that time, had come to Delhi on a break.
The bungalow she and Soofi were going to visit, called Vij Bhawan, was where Malhotra’s mother had grown up. It had housed nearly three generations of a largely joint family and was built in 1955 by Chunni Lal Vij, the family patriarch who co-owned a jewelry business in Chandni Chowk. The house left Malhotra with the distinct impression that “everything had remained the same since its original construction.” She and Soofi spent several hours with her grandfather, Vishwa Nath Vij, and his brother, Yash Pal Vij, talking, about the architecture of the building and unravelling the history that surrounded it.