City Life - A Room in the Red Light, GB Road

City Life – A Room in the Red Light, GB Road

The world of a sex worker. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The room is smaller than the kitchen of an average DDA (Delhi Development Authority) flat. The walls are painted pale purple. A small ceiling fan hangs down…

City Life - Mirza Ghalib's Love Signs, Ghalib Academy

City Life – Mirza Ghalib’s Love Signs, Ghalib Academy

Chairs of heart. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is evening and ghazal singer Athar Hussain Khan is rendering ‘Chupke Chupke’ to a packed audience. The Delhi Walla is at Ghalib Academy in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Basti. The front…

City Life - 'Friends Forever' of Arab Sarai General Store, H. Nizamuddin Basti

City Life – ‘Friends Forever’ of Arab Sarai General Store, H. Nizamuddin Basti

Real world friends. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] To outsiders, Nizamuddin Basti in central Delhi is most famous for the Sufi shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The more knowing among us may also point to the tomb of…

City Life - Amir Dehlavi's Radio Ritual, Haji Hotel

City Life – Amir Dehlavi’s Radio Ritual, Haji Hotel

The ultimate radio star. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Over the years many of us have established a deep bond with our smart phones. Many of us have an emotional connection with our TV too, and some of…

City Life - La La Land of The NDMC, VIP Delhi

City Life – La La Land of The NDMC, VIP Delhi

The great gap. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This is no place for the aam aadmi, or common man. A sign near the Supreme Court declares the limits of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) zone, which has…

City Life - The Marvelous Sighting of The Bride's Palki, Galli Chooriwallan

City Life – The Marvelous Sighting of The Bride’s Palki, Galli Chooriwallan

The long life of the past. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It was draped in silk, or so it seemed. One cold night The Delhi Walla comes across a silver-plated palki (aka doli), the palanquin traditionally used to…

City Life - Winter Couture for the Goats, Walled City

City Life – Winter Couture for the Goats, Walled City

Cold days, warm goats. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] When Old Delhi’s abundant goats start appearing with garlands around their neck, we know we are nearing Eid ul Zuha, the Muslim festival in which the animals are offered…

City News - The Magnificent and Much-Loved 'Tribal Tree' of Alliance Française is No More, Lodhi Estate

City News – The Magnificent and Much-Loved ‘Tribal Tree’ of Alliance Française is No More, Lodhi Estate

The passing of an era. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In a world that appears to be striving for a race to the bottom, it was the epitome of stateliness and dignity. Now, it has left this world….

City Life - The Mystery of the Burning Egg Crates, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

City Life – The Mystery of the Burning Egg Crates, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Secrets of the night. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The white-haired man is shrouded in smoke. An empty egg crate is smoldering dangerously close to his bare feet. But he is fast asleep; his sandals are parked under…

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

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…