City Life - Women at Work, South Delhi

City Life – Women at Work, South Delhi

Long walk to duty. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] The late morning is still cool as if this were February, not April. The air is swelling with bird sounds. A koyal is crying out without a moment’s break….

City Life - Divya Babu's WhatsApp Art Fest, Gurgaon

City Life – Divya Babu’s WhatsApp Art Fest, Gurgaon

Art amid corona. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] Anxious messages from worried parents and friends. Forwarded recommendations for a better body immunity. Links to so-called experts’ pieces of advice. Morbid jokes and e-mojies. And lots and lots of…

City Life - Security Guard Shailesh Singh's "Sansar", Gurgaon

City Life – Security Guard Shailesh Singh’s “Sansar”, Gurgaon

Call of duty. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Shobha Devi pleaded, cajoled and finally started crying, asking him not to leave the house. She also reminded her husband that “Modiji”, the prime minister himself, had asked the citizens not to step…

City Life - Scholar Abdul Sattar in Quarantine, Pahari Imli

City Life – Scholar Abdul Sattar in Quarantine, Pahari Imli

His isolated life. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s nothing less than magic. So quiet, when it used to be so noisy. The Matia Mahal bazar in Old Delhi is usually always crowded. The streets perpetually milling with…

City Life - Vinti's Upset Routine, Pataudi Chowk, Gurgaon

City Life – Vinti’s Upset Routine, Pataudi Chowk, Gurgaon

Life with corona. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Life has turned upside down for Vinti. Her three children are confined inside the home. So is her husband, auto rickshaw driver Raju. It’s late morning and this is feeling…

City Life - Fleeing from Nightmares, Jacobpura

City Life – Fleeing from Nightmares, Jacobpura

On “unsolvable mind problems”. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They can do nothing but wait. The “Baba” will return to his home here in Gurgaon’s Jacobpura—in the Greater Delhi Region—only in another hour or so. He is away…

City Life - Haji Fayazuddin's Hand-Knitted Cap, Old Delhi

City Life – Haji Fayazuddin’s Hand-Knitted Cap, Old Delhi

A souvenir of love and care. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He takes off the topi from his head, holds it carefully, the fingers moving slowly over the woolly texture as if they want to take in the…

City Life - A Working Family, Naya Bazar, Gurgaon

City Life – A Working Family, Naya Bazar, Gurgaon

All together. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s a freezing afternoon and they have just finished with the first half of their day’s work in Gurgaon’s Naya Bazar in the Greater Delhi Region—collecting the “kabad (scrap)”, from the…

City Life - Two Dogs, Zamrudpur Community Center

City Life – Two Dogs, Zamrudpur Community Center

Day-time friends. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Let’s be clear about this. One is not suggesting that dogs lead better lives than humans. Even so. Raja and Pushpa have a wonderful life in a commercial complex in south…

City Life - Wooden 'Takhat' Bed, Outside Jama Masjid, Gurgaon

City Life – Wooden ‘Takhat’ Bed, Outside Jama Masjid, Gurgaon

Our common bed. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is a single wooden bed, but quite broad. It is without a mattress or a bedsheet. No pillow, either. And this bed is for everyone. The cot—known as takhat—lies…