City Life – The Book Shop Walks With Bahrisons Booksellers, Jor Bagh

Two landmarks. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They are walking together. One evening The Delhi Walla sees Nini KD Singh and Aanchal Malhotra at a public park in the quiet Jor Bagh. The two women are intimately connected to two similar but separate—some might even say rival—institutions that add beauty and friendliness to […]

Gilli Danda

City Life – Gilli Danda Players, Mehrauli

The forgotten game. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It looks like cricket but it isn’t cricket. It is gilli danda, a game not commonly seen on Delhi’s streets. Even so, one winter afternoon The Delhi Walla sees a group of young men playing it at Zafar Mahal, a Mughal-era monument in Mehrauli. The […]


City Life – Refugee Status, Majnu ka Tila

Live from Lhasa. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The way home may not be the way back. Tenzin Kunchok, 34, has never set foot in her homeland. “Maybe someday,” says Ms Kunchok, who co-runs a travel agency in Majnu ka Tila, also referred to as MT—Delhi’s famed enclave of exiled Tibetans. Born long […]


City Life – Muhammed Sabir’s Dengue, Hazrat Nizamuddin East

A face in the fever. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The thinkable has happened. Muhammed Sabir, too, has got dengue. Mr Sabir is one of the thousands of Delhiwallas who have been hit by this fever in the current season. He also happens to be the only man in author Sadia Dehlvi’s life. […]


City Life – The Descent of Men, Turkman Gate

The Delhi reality. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] One morning The Delhi Walla saw a grey-haired man asleep on the pavement just outside the Mughal-era monument of Turkman Gate. The man was covered with a sack. Flies buzzed over him. A slipper lay upturned beside his head. The man’s body was turned towards […]


City Life – Love Letters, Scrap Dealer’s Home, Old Delhi

Life in mails. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] One afternoon, in a raddiwala’s (scrap dealer’s) home in Old Delhi, The Delhi Walla discovered a polythene bag filled with letters and picture postcards. The envelopes had the addresses of New York, Allahabad, Geneva, Dar es Salaam, Bombay, Moscow and Delhi. There were dozens of […]

Rain Basera

City Life – Rain Basera, Chandni Chowk

The home for the homeless [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] An abode that comes alive when birds return to their nests—this is the poetic imagery that the term rain basera evokes in an online dictionary. To the prosaic, however, a rain basera is a government-supported night shelter where the homeless sleep. In Old […]


City Life – Glorified Golf Carts, Around Town

The New York Times on Delhi autos [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s like Edward Said’s Orientalism, part two, and it tickles. Until now they were only after our pet snakes and harem women. Now they are also reinterpreting for us our humble autos, aka auto rickshaws, aka thuk thuks. In April 2015, […]

Lodhi Gardens

City Life – Delhi Lovers, Lodhi Gardens

The geography of love. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Some say that love’s a little boy. Some say it’s a bird. Some say it makes the world go round — so mused a long dead poet. In Delhi, he would have without doubt heard some say that love is Lodhi Gardens. On a […]