City Hangout - Basant Lok Market, South Delhi

City Hangout – Basant Lok Market, South Delhi

Once it was happening. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Dry fountain, broken benches, shoe shine boys, doped beggars, stray cows, and palmists making suspicious predictions. Don’t judge Basant Lok Market by its rundown look. In the heart of…

City Hangout – Maulana Aagan Chaikhana, Mohalla Kabristan

City Hangout – Maulana Aagan Chaikhana, Mohalla Kabristan

Lovely and sad. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Two blackened kettles, two ceiling fans, some wooden benches, a few plastic chairs and a roughly carved pillar makes it one of Old Delhi’s most charming chaikhanas, or tea houses….

City Hangout - Spell & Bound, SDA Market

City Hangout – Spell & Bound, SDA Market

Kafka with kebabs. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Those who love their mutton rolls and masala milk may like Spell & Bound at the SDA Market in south Delhi. Opened in May 2011, the bookshop and café has…

City Landmark - Mohan Singh Place Shopping Cum Office Complex, Baba Kharak Singh Marg

City Landmark – Mohan Singh Place Shopping Cum Office Complex, Baba Kharak Singh Marg

A New Delhi oddity. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] In a colonial-era commercial district that is getting colonized by multiplex chains and fast food joints, the Mohan Singh Place ‘shopping cum office complex’ in Connaught Place has no…

City Hangout - Delhi Forests, Around Town

City Hangout – Delhi Forests, Around Town

Delhi’s wild side. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Secretive and silent. Intertwined trees, twisted trunks, thorny twigs, rocky slopes, and clumps of grass. The nearest McDonald’s is two miles away. The Delhi Walla is on Delhi’s Central Ridge,…

City Hangout - Half Price Bookstore, Select Citywalk Mall

City Hangout – Half Price Bookstore, Select Citywalk Mall

Affordable trash. [Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi] Some of Delhi’s best independently owned book stores (Fact & Fiction, the Bookshop, New Book Depot) don’t encourage discounts. Concessions kill the small players. The 31-year-old Bookworm, a landmark store in…

City Hangout - Shankar's International Dolls Museum, Near ITO Crossing

City Hangout – Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, Near ITO Crossing

People of the world. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] For anyone curious about the world, its civilization and its people, this is a trip more affecting than your grandfather’s stacks of National Geographic magazines. Set up by cartoonist…

City Hangout – Rewari Steam Loco Shed, Haryana

City Hangout – Rewari Steam Loco Shed, Haryana

80 km from Delhi. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Half a century ago, it had 85 steam engines and a staff of 500. Today it has nine engines and a staff of 25. The Rewari Steam Loco Shed,…

City Hangout – Flipside Café, Hauz Khas Village

City Hangout – Flipside Café, Hauz Khas Village

A cultivated casualness. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] No. 7. First Floor, at Hauz Khas Village (2651 6341) – Taken in by its faux-bohemian spirit, some consider Hauz Khas Village a John Lennon song. People come here to…

City Hangout - Shahpur Jat Village, South Delhi

City Hangout – Shahpur Jat Village, South Delhi

A designer getaway. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] In Shahpur Jat (SPJ) village, south Delhi, the turbaned elders smoke hookahs in street corners while primped mannequins gaze out through glass windows. More than a hundred stores – from…