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…

City Life - Two Vagabonds, Mathura Road

City Life – Two Vagabonds, Mathura Road

Living on the road. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A pavement on Central Delhi’s Mathura Road recently received two new residents. Shera has a long white beard and is always dressed in black, while Raja is a light…

City Life - People of a Desolate Patch, Near National Science Centre

City Life – People of a Desolate Patch, Near National Science Centre

Hidden living. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Here’s a fine example of how an urban expanse that looks desolate can be lush with life. At first glance, there’s not much going on around here. Tucked away between the…

City Life - Labourers' Load, Central Delhi

City Life – Labourers’ Load, Central Delhi

Big city dreams. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s another cold morning in a city bazar, where a thousand bricks stacked in a by-lane somehow need to be hauled to a construction site nearby. A crew of young…

City Life - Mohammed Basheer's All-Purpose Karsa, Around Sufi Shrines

City Life – Mohammed Basheer’s All-Purpose Karsa, Around Sufi Shrines

Fakir’s priceless possession. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Offhand The Delhi Walla can’t recall how many times I’ve spotted this cheerful fakir seen wandering around Sufi shrines across Delhi–and with a pretty bowl called a karsa hanging around…

City Life - Abdul Kayum's Radio, Central Delhi

City Life – Abdul Kayum’s Radio, Central Delhi

Soulmate melodies. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This impressive radio resembles something our grandfathers might have owned and cherished. It comes complete with a frequency display and a rexine cover. In fact, the unit is only around 10…

City Life - The Shriram Family's Pine & Seeta Ashok Trees, Sardar Patel Road

City Life – The Shriram Family’s Pine & Seeta Ashok Trees, Sardar Patel Road

Private treasures. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] On a cool central Delhi evening, The Delhi Walla is drinking tea with businessman Madhav Shriram and his wife, Divya, at their park magnificently enhanced by a Seeta Ashok tree. But…

City Life - Somwar Kumar's Roadside Stove, Central Delhi

City Life – Somwar Kumar’s Roadside Stove, Central Delhi

Notes from a kitchen. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The other day, The Delhi Walla ran into Somwar Kumar encamped on the pavement in central Delhi. He’d just eaten his homemade lunch. He had cooked aloo gobhi and…