City Life - Migrants Going Home, Gurgaon Railway Station

City Life – Migrants Going Home, Gurgaon Railway Station

Big city disappointment. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Blue denim jeans, small enough to be of a child. A pair of white pajamas. A red lehenga with golden border. A blue sari with white polka dots. These are…

City Life - Four Labourers, Tiraha Behram Khan

City Life – Four Labourers, Tiraha Behram Khan

Waiting for work. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] They are sitting on their haunches, waiting for work. House painters Madan Lal, Gopal, Jagdish and Malik are stationed with their paint brushes in Old Delhi’s Tiraha Behram Khan. This…

City Life - Three Friends, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

City Life – Three Friends, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Bonds they share. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A great amount of uninhibited giggling is going on among the three friends, here in this lane in central Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. A quick investigation reveals that Saddam (in…

City Obituary - Pianist Mahesh Agrawal, The Ashoka

City Obituary – Pianist Mahesh Agrawal, The Ashoka

The Steinway man. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He was the man who had been regaling audiences on Delhi’s sole Steinway on public view—at The Ashok—for more than 30 years. He died during the second surge of the…

City Obituary - Film Poster Seller Shanky, Old Delhi

City Obituary – Film Poster Seller Shanky, Old Delhi

A life in cinema. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Lean and boyish, Old Delhi’s Shanky wasn’t famous like a Bollywood star, but was well known among the collectors of Bollywood memorabilia. He traded treasures for a bargain—once he…

City Life - Bamiyan Boys, Sunder Nursery

City Life – Bamiyan Boys, Sunder Nursery

The dreams of some Afghans. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] When you hear the word Bamiyan, what do you see in your mind’s eye? May be, the Buddhas of Bamiyan. These were two monumental statues of Gautama Buddha,…

City Life - Shakespeare in Pandemic-Era Delhi, Hauz Khas Enclave

City Life – Shakespeare in Pandemic-Era Delhi, Hauz Khas Enclave

Shakespearean scholar on corona. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Shakespeare invented the human — at least this is what is suggested by the title of an acclaimed book on the great playwright. Although he presumably never left his native England, Shakespeare’s…

City Life - Poetry after Second Surge, Ghalib Academy

City Life – Poetry after Second Surge, Ghalib Academy

Like a condolence. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Each person is separated from the other by a seat plastered with a printed leaflet cautioning “Please do not sit here.” They were put up last year during the first…

City Life - Back of Labourers, Entire Delhi Region

City Life – Back of Labourers, Entire Delhi Region

Back story. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] Parked outside a narrow lane in Gurgaon’s Bhim Garh Kheri in the Greater Delhi Region, the handcart is stacked with bricks. Two labourers are carrying these to a house being built…

City Life - Somebody's Photo Album, Sunday Book Bazar

City Life – Somebody’s Photo Album, Sunday Book Bazar

Life’s souvenir. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The cover is black. The album’s hundreds of photos are in black and white. The back label says—Made in England. This photo album is discovered by The Delhi Walla one afternoon…