Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire - Masti Anna Zaman, Somewhere in Delhi

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Masti Anna Zaman, Somewhere in Delhi

Fakeer gets frank. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] He doesn’t have a mobile phone, he doesn’t have a bank account, he doesn’t have an ID card, he doesn’t have much cash either, he says. Even so, he is…

Proust Questionnaire - Reshma, Old Delhi

Proust Questionnaire – Reshma, Old Delhi

Into a citizen’s heart. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] She earns by singing and dancing and offering blessings in household celebrations such as weddings, childbirths and grih-pravesh. This afternoon, combing her long oiled hair in a Walled City…

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire - Inam Khan,  Sir Syed Road

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Inam Khan, Sir Syed Road

Into a citizen’s heart. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] He restores torn clothes, for he is a rafoogar—belonging to a diminishing segment of tailors who specialize in the art of darning. A yumna-paar dweller of Khureji, Inam Khan…

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire - Rajneesh, Around Town

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Rajneesh, Around Town

Into a cab man’s heart. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] One of the essentials occupying an esteemed place in his car is the blue statuette of Dr BR Ambedkar holding a copy of the Indian constitution (see photo)….

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire - Gulam Muhammed Malik, Public Library

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Gulam Muhammed Malik, Public Library

Waiting for Godot. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] The same handsome gaunt face, the same lean figure. The hawk-like eyes glinting in immersive thoughts, the meditative lines on the forehead, and the smart short-cropped grey hair. He is…

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire - Naeem Khan, Pahari Imli

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Naeem Khan, Pahari Imli

The parlour confession. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] The hilly Pahari Imli gets its name from a tamarind tree that no longer exists. But Naeem Khan’s tailoring establishment serves as an idyllic substitute for that extinct imli ka…

Delhi's Proust Questionnaire - Sajjad Ahmad Banjara, Jama Masjid

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Sajjad Ahmad Banjara, Jama Masjid

The parlour confession. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] The sky is blue, the winter sun is shining, the daylight is warm. The stone staircase of Jama Masjid’s southern face is teeming with citizens. One of them is Sajjad Ahmad Banjara, attired…

Delhi's Proust Questionnaire - Rekha Gupta, Ghaziabad

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Rekha Gupta, Ghaziabad

The parlour confession. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] This afternoon for lunch she made the winter season’s first sarson ka saag, along with makke ki roti. Rekha Gupta lives with her husband Mahabir Prasad, a retired officer, in a first-floor apartment….

Delhi's Proust Questionnaire - Nora Swenson, Lodhi Garden

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Nora Swenson, Lodhi Garden

The parlour confession. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Over the past few months she has been spotted at Lodhi Garden almost daily, always sitting on the same spot, behind a floss silk tree, across the walking track that goes past Sheesh…

Delhi's Proust Questionnaire - Rupin Walter Desai, East Patel Nagar

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Rupin Walter Desai, East Patel Nagar

The parlour confession. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] This retired English Literature professor is India’s greatest living Shakespeare scholar (he is also an authority on Yeats!). Rupin Walter Desai founded the legendary Hamlet Studies, “an international journal of research on The…