City Faith - Hara Mandir, Gali Choori Wallan

Faith in green. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The temple is immersed in utmost quietude, so much so that you feel that if you concentrate enough, you might hear Devi Durga breathe. Attired in an orange fabric, her…

Mission Delhi - Simon Khatoon, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The woman in white sooti (cotton) sari is walking erect, with a big sack on her head. She is carrying it with confidence, showing neither…

City Season - First Semal Flowering, ITO

Red spring. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They fall down with a thudding sound one after another, the red semal flowers. Their blooming marks the arrival of Delhi’s most pleasant, though most brief season—when it’s neither cold nor…

Mission Delhi - Rajeev Ranjan, Near Gurgaon Railway Station

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In a metropolis of millions, what is it like to live alone? This question is bluntly put to Rajeev Ranjan who lives all by himself…

City Hangout - Matkaman's Water Point, Panchsheel Park

Art for water’s sake. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Here’s a place to briefly escape from all the negativity. This refuge is by a busy road, on a pavement in south Delhi’s Panchsheel Park. The seat is… an…

Mission Delhi - Muhammed Naeem Khan, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya's Dargah

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] His face exudes immense calm, and sitting beside him is somewhat relaxing. He has the vibes of a fakir, an ascetic, which is nothing surprising…

City Monument - Old Connaught Place Staircase, A Block, Inner Circle

Finding lost time. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A creaking wooden staircase going up one side of the hall, opening into a narrow attic, or the mezzanine floor. In the earlier landmarks of the colonial-era Connaught Place (CP)…

City Hangout - Ebony Cafe, Pai Walan, Jama Masjid

Paris in Purani Dilli. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In Paris, you have your cappuccino in front of Notre-Dame. In Delhi, it has recently become possible to enjoy a cappuccino — and not just sweet milky chai —…

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Namit Arora, DLF Phase 3

The parlour confession. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] Namit Arora is into reading, writing, travelling—so much so that he and his partner gave up their corporate career in California to travel and write about India, where they took…

City Hangout - Vasudev's Tea Stall, Hauz Khas Village

Chai with kindness. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The night is cold. Vasudev has rustled out a small fire from wooden twigs he picked up from the pavement. Dressed in cap and woollen overcoat, he is fortifying himself…