City Hangout - Surinder Tea Stall, Gurgaon

Stall’s saga. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The pavement chai stalls are often a storehouse of hard-luck stories. Some are suffused with the life of their customers. Others are permeated with the hopes and disappointments of their owners….

City Food - Milk Shakes, Around Town

Downing the city. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] When belligerent Bombayites assert their refusal to accept Delhi’s cosmopolitanism, they dismiss its people as “villagers”. They are right, up to a point. Delhi has 275 (registered) villages. The most…

City Landmark - Bimla Devi's Water Filter, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon

A woman’s portrait. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] She isn’t famous, but she is a public landmark. Bimla Devi has a pyayu, a cold water filter for thirsty passersby, named after her in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazaar in the…

City Faith - Temple Bells, Khan Market

Faith in commerce. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Just another evening at the Khan Market in Delhi. An important-looking man in white kurta-pajama and a black sleeveless jacket enters a luxury showroom, his gun-toting bodyguards in grey safari…

City Hangout - Ashok Kumar's Onion-Scented Tea Stall, Gurgaon

House of tea. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The idea of an onion-scented chai might not appeal to all, but it really is delicious. And, for the record, the chai doesn’t taste of onion. The unnamed tea stall…

Home Sweet Home – Impermanent Housing, Vasundhara

Fleeting dwellings. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Vasundhara in Ghaziabad in the Greater Delhi Region is a cluster of residential towers. But this particular housing is too modest. The four homes share a common roof, and this roof…

Our Self-Written Obituaries – Julia Julley's Butterfly, Varna, Bulgaria

The 244th death. [Text and photo sent by Julia Julley] Nymph in yellow. She lived among flowers and died among flowers. She clearly remembered her past life as a Cinderella – crawling around in an uncomely green rag. Then came…

City Landmark - Everest Tailors, Rajiv Nagar, Gurgaon

The idea of home. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The Millennium City of Gurgaon in the Greater Delhi Region is hundreds of miles away from Nepal, and the closest thing to Kathmandu you can find here might be…

Mission Delhi - Shahji, Fatehpuri Mosque

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] As an ascetic, Shahji—as he introduced himself—has but one main mission in life: meditating alone in an Old Delhi mosque, hours on end. The 80-year-old,…

City Food - Muhammed Afroz’s Bihari Jhaal Moori, Mathura Road

Taste of Bihar. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] No doubt there are even more superior jhaal moori snacks sold elsewhere in town. But Muhammed Afroz’s offerings are unique. Just a year ago he came up with the idea…