City Landmark - The Gloomy Staircase, Near New Delhi Railway Station

When a piece of utilitarian infrastructure becomes poetic. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This fine old staircase leading to the overhead bridge in Central Delhi somehow seems steeped in a kind of melancholy. Here in early evening, a…

City Walk - The Lane to Cornwallis Colony, Central Delhi

The colonial-era way. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Most British-built neighbourhoods, avenues and streets in our fair city of Delhi have been stripped of their original English names. (Goodbye colonialism!) Post-Independence rulers made certain that Curzon Road, for…

Atget’s Corner – 1136-1140, Delhi Photos

The visible city. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Delhi is a voyeur’s paradise and The Delhi Walla also makes pictures. I take photos of people, streets, flowers, eateries, drawing rooms, tombs, landscapes, buses, colleges, Sufi shrines, trees, animals, autos, libraries, birds,…

City Food - Kalonji Miracles, Old Delhi

Tales of nigella seeds. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Some written works just must be cherished because they’re flavoured with the nuances of everyday life, and dyed with the hyperlocal shades of a particular place. Such as Kalonji…

City Moment - Bicycle Couple, Central Delhi

The memorable instant. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It takes them the better part of one hour to arrive home by bicycle after their long day as public park gardeners. Malti Devi sits on the back carrier while…

City Hangout - Strangest Bench, Central Delhi

Away from the world. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This may be the weirdest garden bench in all of Delhi. Instead of facing the finery of flowers it faces a wall here in central Delhi’s Bhishma Pitamah Marg….

City Life - Wooden 'Takhat' Bed, Outside Jama Masjid, Gurgaon

Our common bed. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is a single wooden bed, but quite broad. It is without a mattress or a bedsheet. No pillow, either. And this bed is for everyone. The cot—known as takhat—lies…

City Monument - Holy Trinity Church, Turkman Gate

A secluded sacredness. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A handful of Christian families live in a pleasing coziness in the courtyard of old Holy Trinity Church at the southern border of the Walled City. Here’s a hushed world…

Mission Delhi - Khemchand Pakoriwalle, Connaught Place

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He has a name that makes him seem one of those men justly famous for selling fabulous pakoras. But he stopped selling them some 40…

City Landmark - Goldsmith's Workshop, Nai Basti, Gurgaon

Inside an old-fashioned world. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In the so-called Millennium City, yet so far. This old-fashioned goldsmith’s workshop in Gurgaon’s Nai Basti in the Greater Delhi region. You get custom-made lockets, rings, and necklace pendants…