City Life - The Rubble of Our Ruins, Old Delhi

City Life – The Rubble of Our Ruins, Old Delhi

Goodbye to past. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] There goes down one more landmark whose history is now lost to us forever. But where’s the time to pause and mourn. In any case, cities are forever changing their…

City Life - The Mother as a Waste Picker, Gurgaon

City Life – The Mother as a Waste Picker, Gurgaon

Parenting a child. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They are mother and daughter, Manorama Begum and her Majnu. Both are walking home. It is afternoon. “We are done with work,” says Ms Begum. In her 30s, the woman…

City Life - Ghaziabad's Sunset Boulevard, Vaishali Metro Station

City Life – Ghaziabad’s Sunset Boulevard, Vaishali Metro Station

The evening magic-realism. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Not everybody likes sunsets. They can be linked to serious melancholy, even a kind of death. (If you choose to think like that.) But there’s a healthier approach. For instance:…

City Life - Kesar's Mango Pickles, Under the Metro Tracks, Gurgaon

City Life – Kesar’s Mango Pickles, Under the Metro Tracks, Gurgaon

The family life. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Monsoon has arrived. The rain’s finally falling. Such bad luck. Kesar was depending on the afternoon to stay sunny. Now, the plan has gone haywire. The pickles might be ruined….

City Life - Aunty's Tree Stall, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon

City Life – Aunty’s Tree Stall, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon

Life under a dead tree. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Aunty has been working under this Kikar tree, here on Gurgaon’s Golf Links Road, for 15 years. Her real name is Salma Begum but barely anyone knows it….

City Life - The Silicon Valley Couple, Near Cyberhub, Gurgaon

City Life – The Silicon Valley Couple, Near Cyberhub, Gurgaon

A life of their choosing. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] One day, two lovers fond of reading, writing and traveling give up their day-jobs and start living together to read, write and travel. Fairy tale, right? No. Meet…

City Life - The Sunday Chess Players, Chirag Delhi

City Life – The Sunday Chess Players, Chirag Delhi

The weekly tournament. [Text and photos by Maynak Austen Soofi] These two just can’t get enough of a good thing. For some 30 years, they’ve gotten together every Sunday, usually under a peepal tree, to play chess. “All week long…

City Landmark - Nizam, the Last of the Pankhawallas, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya's Dargah

City Landmark – Nizam, the Last of the Pankhawallas, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s Dargah

The last of the fan-bearers. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Talk of dying professions. A case in point are those industrious pankhawallas who fan heat-stricken pilgrims at Sufi shrines in summer. Not long ago the Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya…

City Life - A Fishy Washroom, Connaught Place

City Life – A Fishy Washroom, Connaught Place

Fish in the loo. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] To watch fish frolicking inside an aquarium is supposed to be soothing and hypnotic. May be that’s why quite a few hotels in the touristy district of Paharganj have…

City Life - Fakirs' Corner, North Delhi

City Life – Fakirs’ Corner, North Delhi

The fakir anthem. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The jagged folksy sort of a song is effortlessly streaming into the evening darkness, here on a sidewalk in north Delhi. The lyrics appear to be in Bengali. But who…