City Hangout - Sidewalk Cafés, Lado Sarai

City Hangout – Sidewalk Cafés, Lado Sarai

New wave in the village. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Three coffee drinkers perched on street-side chairs, on the pave. Their arms are swaying up and down with the passions of an animated chatter. This could be a…

City Hangout - 9pm at Sunder Nursery, Central Delhi

City Hangout – 9pm at Sunder Nursery, Central Delhi

Night revellers. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The smoggy sky is pitch black. Amid the trees, a procession is standing silently with flaming torches. No, these are lamps lining a pathway. This is Sunder Nursery at 9 pm….

City Hangout - Jama Masjid in Twilight, Gurgaon

City Hangout – Jama Masjid in Twilight, Gurgaon

The magic of changing light. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is possible to travel by staying still. One way to do this is by lingering long at the Jama Masjid in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar. The small edifice…

City Hangout - India Gate & Central Vista, Central Delhi

City Hangout – India Gate & Central Vista, Central Delhi

A new era. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The hat-wearing lady in sari poses with her family for photographer Vijay Babu (150 rupees for a single print in two minutes). The background is India Gate. This will be…

City Hangout - Barahpulla Flyover, Central Delhi

City Hangout – Barahpulla Flyover, Central Delhi

Best flyover. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This flyover has something unique: one always hopes for a traffic jam while one is on it. Why? Because of the view. And such traffic jam there is, one recent evening…

City Hangout - Dargah Chai, Hazrat Nizamuddin's Sufi Shrine

City Hangout – Dargah Chai, Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Sufi Shrine

Sufi tea. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is no accident that Emperor Humayun, Emperor Muhammed Shah Rangila, Princess Jahanara, poet Amir Khusro, and poet Mirza Ghalib are buried near to each other. They all are in close…

City Hangout - Matia Mahal Bazar, Old Delhi

City Hangout – Matia Mahal Bazar, Old Delhi

market in the pandemic. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Ramzan is gone, not its raunaq. The peppy bunting is hanging upon the street like an expired blessing (see photo). This weekday afternoon Old Delhi’s Matia Mahal Bazar is…

City Hangout - Brown Break Bakery, Paharganj

City Hangout – Brown Break Bakery, Paharganj

A pandemic-era life. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Once upon a time, Paharganj’s heart used to pulsate in two cafés. True — the entire Main Bazar in this hotel district of backpackers teemed with foreign backpackers. But it…

City Hangout - Couple's Chai, Ram Ram Ji Stall

City Hangout – Couple’s Chai, Ram Ram Ji Stall

A cute tea corner. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is astonishing that such a small place can trigger such a smorgasbord of sentiments. First, you notice the couple behind the counter. They are utterly silent, and yet…

City Hangout - Cotea, Shakarpur

City Hangout – Cotea, Shakarpur

Cool point. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] The noon’s hot white light is entwined with the dust-laden air. The traffic on the main road is stubbornly stationary, and yet it remains a noisy anarchy. Such are the joys…