City Life - The Paris Bound Rooster, Near Pahari Rajaan

City Life – The Paris Bound Rooster, Near Pahari Rajaan

A meat shop immortal. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Every day Muhammed Aijaz runs his knife through some 50 chickens at hisOld Delhi meat shop. But one of them refuses to die. The pride-of-place wooden rooster, beautifully carved,…

City Life - Shaheena's Lockdown Quietude, Old Delhi

City Life – Shaheena’s Lockdown Quietude, Old Delhi

The silence of the pandemic. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It was never so quiet. So quiet that one could clearly hear the chirping of birds at noon time, as if this were a bird-filled orchard. For more…

City Life - Sound of Silence, Chitli Qabar Chowk

City Life – Sound of Silence, Chitli Qabar Chowk

In times of corona. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] If you listen, you can hear it. The silence. An absence of sounds has descended over the Chitli Qabar Chowk like a shroud upon the body of the dead….

City Life - Three Masked Mistris, South Delhi

City Life – Three Masked Mistris, South Delhi

Life in corona. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Just a few cars are passing by, the faces of the drivers hidden behind masks. A Mother Dairy milk booth is lying half-shuttered. The yellow circles in front of the…

City Life - Leela Kanuga's Mango Tree, Mayfair Gardens

City Life – Leela Kanuga’s Mango Tree, Mayfair Gardens

Life with a tree. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In these days of lockdown, people can easily spend waking hours absorbed by the changing patterns of sunlight on their drawing room’s walls. But Leela Kanuga recently gazed upon…

City Life - A Bunch of Labourers, South Delhi

City Life – A Bunch of Labourers, South Delhi

Stranded at site. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Attired in a lungi and banian, he could be any Delhi man at home. But Vinod Kumar is a security guard. It is morning and he is standing atop a…

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…