City Walk - Paharai Rajaan, Old Delhi

City Walk – Paharai Rajaan, Old Delhi

The hill of the workers [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Who made Taj Mahal? Shah Jahan. No, who actually raised the Taj, stone by stone? Nobody knows. History is mute on the labourers who built the monument. Ditto…

City Walk - Doors of Vakil Lane, Central Delhi

City Walk – Doors of Vakil Lane, Central Delhi

The lane of doors [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The cracked door has so many long cracks running along so many places that the door is looking like an unironed shirt with creases. The polish on the wood…

City Home - Saira Bano & Family, Gali Chandi Wali

City Home – Saira Bano & Family, Gali Chandi Wali

Home sweet home [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] An entire household is contained in this room. This household contains a life that has largely disappeared. The second floor apartment in Old Delhi’s Gali Chandi Wali houses a family…

City Season - Sky Watching, Gurgaon

City Season – Sky Watching, Gurgaon

Season’s scenes [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The sleek Rapid Metro train is sliding noiselessly along the elevated tracks. The glass windows of the high-rises are gleaming under the noonday sun. And tufts of greying clouds are wafting…

City Hangout - The Book Hub, Batla House

City Hangout – The Book Hub, Batla House

Shop of used books [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The tiny basement room is crammed with just too many writers. A perfect place for bookworms to burrow into the delicious smells of musty well-thumbed pages. The Book Hub…

City Walk - Kucha Neelkanth, Old Delhi

City Walk – Kucha Neelkanth, Old Delhi

The place of the blue-throated [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] At the time of the churning of the Ocean of Milk, the giant serpent Vasuki — who was being used as a rope, the mountain Mandara being the…

City Food - Kulhar Chai, Juhi's Tea

City Food – Kulhar Chai, Juhi’s Tea

Tea while lounging. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Poor Paris. That city has many sidewalk cafés, with awnings sheltering the patrons from rain and sunshine. But not one serving chai in earthen kulhar. Delhi, be proud. Here’s a…

Mission Delhi - Rashmi Gautam, South Delhi

Mission Delhi – Rashmi Gautam, South Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] She approaches the passerby with cool composed confidence. He looks hassled. Her face all smiles, she shows him a pamphlet-like thing she is holding in…

City Food - Kallan Bawarchi, Matia Mahal

City Food – Kallan Bawarchi, Matia Mahal

Landmark kitchen. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The potbellied cauldrons. The long metal ladles. The platters with chopped green chillies. The smoke-blackened walls. Air smelling of elaichi, laung, mirchi, pyaz, adrak, lehsun. Here is the timeless world of…

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Labourer Salman Abbas, Around Town

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Labourer Salman Abbas, Around Town

The parlour confession. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Salman Abbas’s day is full of physically exhausting work. In between assignments, the young labourer lies down on the long wooden bench of his employer’s warehouse in central Delhi, and instantly falls into…