City Life - Two Painters, Kamala Nehru Park

City Life – Two Painters, Kamala Nehru Park

On life and its disappointments. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is late morning and Manoj and Ravi are sitting in a city garden. The Kamala Nehru Park, tucked next to Gurgaon’s Roshanpura in the Greater Delhi Region,…

City Food - Raj Kumar's Jal Jeera Drink, Sadar Bazar

City Food – Raj Kumar’s Jal Jeera Drink, Sadar Bazar

Season’s flavour. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Everything changes. Winter too is changing to summer. But “the dukh (grief) inside you doesn’t dim, even though you start smiling again,” observes aloo tikki vendor Raj Kumar. His eldest son,…

City Landmark - Rachna Book House, SDA Market

City Landmark – Rachna Book House, SDA Market

Mom-and-pop. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The small stationery shop is noticeable because it also sells magazines, an increasingly endangered sight in these days of online reading. Then, you notice shelves decked with greeting cards, an increasingly endangered…

City Hangout - Hyperlocal Notepads, Daryaganj

City Hangout – Hyperlocal Notepads, Daryaganj

Being elegantly pretentious. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Spending the afternoon in a cool cafe and being seen with a sleek laptop, or better still, with one of those elegant writing pads, is certainly the most sophisticated kind…

City Walk - Taak Sightings, Roshanpura, Gurgaon

City Walk – Taak Sightings, Roshanpura, Gurgaon

Finding old souvenirs. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] If you look closely, you can find taaks in at least some houses of New Delhi villages—these disappearing arch-shaped niches built into walls. Traditionally meant as alcoves to keep sacred…

City Landmark - Ordinary Village Well, Chirag Dehli

City Landmark – Ordinary Village Well, Chirag Dehli

An ordinary wonder. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The city has a village. The village has a square. The square has a well. Delhi is well-known for its centuries old step-wells, or baolis. But in the Capital it…

City Monument - General Shah Nawaz Khan's Grave, Old Delhi

City Monument – General Shah Nawaz Khan’s Grave, Old Delhi

Hero resting here. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Among those who care for graves of historical people, it is common knowledge that the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Sarmad Shahid lies between the Jama Masjid and the Red…

Julia Child in Delhi - Susanna Di Cosimo's Sarson da Pizza, Gurgaon

Julia Child in Delhi – Susanna Di Cosimo’s Sarson da Pizza, Gurgaon

The great chef’s life in Delhi. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] She has married thrice—to the same man. Susanna Di Cosimo, 42, came to visit our motherland from her Italy in 2011, and two years later settled in…

Home Sweet Home - A Mansion for Labourers, Mohalla Qabristan

Home Sweet Home – A Mansion for Labourers, Mohalla Qabristan

Old house, new home. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It looks like a museum. Nothing like this old-fashioned balcony exists anywhere else in the immediate vicinity. What is it like to actually live in this building? It turns…

Mission Delhi - Monty, Roshan Pura

Mission Delhi – Monty, Roshan Pura

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] His face is invisible. Even his black mask cannot be seen because of the tall tower of pink cotton candies—each wrapped in a separate plastic—that…