City Faith - Sheetla Mata Mandir, Gurgaon

Goddess of smallpox. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] On Mondays, Sheetla Mata Mandir in Gurgaon, in Greater Delhi Region, attracts the biggest crowd in the week — or at least it used to be so in the BC…

Mission Delhi - Parvati, Civil Lines, Gurgaon

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] At 55, Parvati’s life is as hectic as it was 16 years ago, when she and her husband set up her tea stall, here by the roadside in Gurgaon’s Civil Lines in the…

City Monument - Beyond Humayun's Tomb, Humayun's Tomb

The world around the icon. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The big one, Pilkhan, is 104 years old, and the small one, frangipani, is just 15. You too might have noticed the juxtaposed beauty of these two trees—…

City Moment - Three Labourers Enjoying a Break, Sector 14, Gurgaon

Connections to village and to the city. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They are some of the faces that are changing the face of our metropolis. This morning, the three construction labourers are quietly enjoying the gently warming…

Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Siddharth Kapila's Ode to #covidtimes, Greater Kailash

Poetry in the city. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Is there a better time than the pandemic? Of course, this question only applies to people of his kind — writers. After all, what does such a specie needs…

City Food - Chai ki Dukan Tea Stall, Mohalla Qabristan

Museum of tea kettles. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] So many tea kettles in such a tiny shack. One is stuck between a mug and a jar. Another one perched by the gas range. And then there is…

City Faith - Lockdown Epic Reading, Ghaziabad

From choir to duet. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They would always take the possibility of unexpected monsoon showers into account, as well as that of unexpected power cuts. But they hadn’t thought of this situation. Every year…

Mission Delhi - Shakir Husain, Central Delhi

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Like many jobs, being a waste collector is hectic. One has to walk along one’s assigned streets, go through piles of garbage to pick up the viable trash, put it in a sack…

City Food - COVID-Era Imarti, Mehboob-e-Ilahi Mithai Shop, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Finding old taste. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] It has finally reopened. Mehboob-e-Ilahi mithai shop (open from 6 am to 10 pm) is to be found again in central Delhi’s historic 14th century Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. Adjacent to…

City Special - Obituary of Kaushal Nagpal, a Retired School Teacher Who Died of COVID-19, Faridabad

A life lost to the Coronavirus. [Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; photos shared by Kaushal Nagpal’s family] A retired school teacher, a devout follower of Arya Samaj, a Partition refugee, and a feminist, Kaushal Nagpal died of coronavirus in June…