Mission Delhi - Pratikansh, Paharganj and Surroundings

Mission Delhi – Pratikansh, Paharganj and Surroundings

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The black sky’s hazy moon is easily visible through the cold smoggy air. Perhaps because of the absence of street lighting. A few folks are…

Mission Delhi - Katto, Matia Mahal

Mission Delhi – Katto, Matia Mahal

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] She likes guavas, which is pretty conventional for somebody like her. She is a parrot. “Her name is Katto, call her by her name,” says fruit-seller Zakir a bit sternly. His tone instantly…

Mission Delhi - Sikander, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon

Mission Delhi – Sikander, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Alexander the Great — whose Hindi name would be Sikander — set on to conquer the world. But Sikander, the dholak seller, is more humble. He just want to conquer his fate. “I…

Mission Delhi - Saddam, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Saddam, Central Delhi

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s such a deathly cold evening that the mere sight of steaming hot gajar halwa (carrot pudding), here in this central Delhi market, brings instant relief. Only later does the attention shift to…

Mission Delhi - Sarju Gihara, Mehrauli Road

Mission Delhi – Sarju Gihara, Mehrauli Road

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Like the pages of an art-gallery coffee table book, the pavement wall consists of a series of hand-drawn paintings. One shows a woman peeking out from behind her veil. Nearby, with a setting…

Mission Delhi - Vishwanath, Kashmere Gate

Mission Delhi – Vishwanath, Kashmere Gate

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Vishwanath takes all the precautions he can to avoid being hurt. But accidents still happen, and some injuries are unavoidable. The rickshaw puller’s leg is bandaged, though he insists it’s not a serious…

Mission Delhi - Maan Singh, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Maan Singh, Central Delhi

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Shoulder bags come with zips. But his has hundreds of safety pins, for both the compartments. “This has my sone ka samaan (sleeping stuff),” says Maan Singh, walking down a central Delhi road,…

Mission Delhi - Bhure Khan, Sheetla Colony

Mission Delhi – Bhure Khan, Sheetla Colony

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The plastic banner clings to the roadside fence. Bhure Khan Baraf Depot supplies ice in great quantity for wedding banquets — though any customer could also buy individual ice slabs directly from the…

Mission Delhi - Sanjay, Central Delhi

Mission Delhi – Sanjay, Central Delhi

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] From a distance, he looks like a dot in the world. The sprawling ground has only this man. He is sitting quietly on the edge…

Mission Delhi - Simran, Janakpuri

Mission Delhi – Simran, Janakpuri

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This is how it is. Simran feels most alive when she’s walking on the streets, perhaps somewhere around the historic Jama Masjid in Old Delhi,…