Sunder Burj

City Monument – Aga Khan’s Grand Heritage, Hazrat Nizamuddin

The great restoration project. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This could be the closest thing to paradise. Here, the world is all grass and birds, air and sky. Sunflowers sway gently in the afternoon breeze. Tiny manicured gardens are laid out one after the other. Stone benches are placed discreetly behind green hedges—just […]

Chiki Sarkar

Netherfield Ball – Publisher Chiki Sarkar’s Secret Remained a Secret at Journalist Madhu Jain’s Anniversray Bash

The party secrets. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A few of them looked adequately solemn to be practitioners of long-form journalism (see photo 8 below). One evening The Delhi Walla attended journalist Madhu Jain’s get-together at India Habitat Center. It was the anniversary of The Indian Quarterly (IQ), her highbrow magazine. While Ms […]

Rabri

City Food – Rabri, Chandni Chowk

Condensed sweetness. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is sweet snow. This creamy dessert is an exception to the rule that street food is always inexpensive. In Old Delhi bylanes (think chaotic Chandni Chowk), the humble-looking pavement stalls sell a glass of rabri for 100 rupees. A small bowl of rabri is priced […]

Tonga

City Moment – Tonga Riders, Outside Zakir Husain Delhi College

Commuting into the past. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] At least a dozen people are seated on the orange tonga. Most are women and children. The white horse is quiet. One white-hot afternoon The Delhi Walla comes across a horse-driven carriage just outside Zakir Husain Delhi College. Until a few years ago tongas […]

Batla House

City Neighborhood – Batla House, South Delhi

The encounter district. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Some of the lanes leading to his home are so dark that you can’t see your own feet. The Delhi Walla‘s internal GPS is seriously confused. It’s way beyond midnight. The alleys are deserted, but outside the Surya Light Store we encounter a dozen men […]

GOST

Photo Essay – 20 The God of Small Things Readers, Ayemenem

On the novel’s 20th year. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Everyone is reading The God of Small Things in Ayemenem. This village in the backwaters of Kerala is the setting of the aforementioned book. Arundhati Roy’s first novel will turn 20 next year and The Delhi Walla is in Ayemenem to celebrate the […]

Paradesi Synagogue

City Monument – Paradesi Synagogue, Jew Town, Cochin

India’s oldest surviving Jewish temple. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Its name literally means ‘foreigner’ in Hindi. The Delhi Walla is in Paradesi Synagogue in Jew Town, Cochin. India’s oldest surviving Jewish temple, it is a dream world of chandeliers. The stately Venetian and Belgian glass artworks hang down in great dignity from […]

Cochin

City Landmark – Arundhati Roy’s Hotel, Cochin

The hotel of The God of Small Things. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] “Room numbers 313 and 327,” The man at the reception desk said. “Non-air-conditioned. Twin beds. Lift is closed for repair.” This is not true. Lift is operational and there are no rooms with numbers 313 and 327. The Delhi Walla […]

Cochin Jew

City Faith – The Jewish Woman’s Muslim Friend, Jew Town, Cochin

Hope floats. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] There are religious wars going on in the world. Muslims hate Jews. Hindus hate Muslims. Yazidis are hated by Islamists. Sunnis hate Shiites. Many hate Muslims. This is the story we are told daily, and it is probably a true story. And yet. One evening The […]