City Food - COVID-Era Imarti, Mehboob-e-Ilahi Mithai Shop, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Finding old taste. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] It has finally reopened. Mehboob-e-Ilahi mithai shop (open from 6 am to 10 pm) is to be found again in central Delhi’s historic 14th century Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. Adjacent to…

City Special - Obituary of Kaushal Nagpal, a Retired School Teacher Who Died of COVID-19, Faridabad

A life lost to the Coronavirus. [Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; photos shared by Kaushal Nagpal’s family] A retired school teacher, a devout follower of Arya Samaj, a Partition refugee, and a feminist, Kaushal Nagpal died of coronavirus in June…

City Hangout - Pandemic-Era Paharganj, Central Delhi

A place without its soul. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Sapna means dream and now, indeed, it seems just like a dream. It is Monday noon and the shutters of the Sapna Travel are down. Some steps ahead…

City Monument - Old Beautiful Doorways, Galli Chooriwallan Street

Celebrating a souvenir. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is arrayed out in six panels. The planks that link them are studded with cap-like decorations, like little black nails. Four gigantic latches are fitted at different corners, their…

City Food - Triloki Kashyap's Aloo Parathas, Palam Vihar

Roadside pleasure. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Aloo paratha is no sushi. It’s accessible to all, cherished by many, and tasty and affordable enough to transcend every sort of social and economic divide. It makes for a dream…

City Life - Sonam's Musician, Vaishali

Recreating known strangers. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In your life too, there must be people you don’t personally know but whom you would often spot in the BC (before corona) era. An ATM guard. A fruit seller….

City Hangout - Garden of Spring, Vasant Vihar

The park of poets. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The carefree man in blue track suit is sprawled on the grass, his eyes closed in deep sleep, and his bare feet entangled amid dry leaves and white frangipanis…

City Faith - Newly Restored Sufi Shrines, Hazrat Sarmad & Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah

A pandemic-era restoration. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A historic place in Delhi, drastically transformed. While life in the city has severally shrunk due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the capital’s most important Sufi shrines, or dargahs,…

City Hangout - Pandemic-Era Symbols, Chatta Sheikh Mangloo

Signs of the times. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In one famous scene of the Arabian Nights, a thief paints a mark on Ali Baba’s door so that his companions can later come and put him to death….

Mission Delhi - Poonam Yadav, Sector 11

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s late night and Poonam Yadav is sitting by the desk, with her laptop and scores of bulky books on Corporate Tax, Strategic Management and other subjects of the kind. “I have my…