City Monument - Stranded Column, Chirag Delhi Village

Littered past. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The pillar is slender, and swells up towards the top like a sonata soaring to a crescendo. It appears to be of red sandstone but the red has faded. You may…

City Monument - Nila Gumbad, Humayun Tomb Complex

The Humayun blue. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s 24 karat gold—the kalash , or the finial, at the top of the Humayun’s Tomb. The gilded metal glistens in sunshine. Just some steps away is a much smaller…

City Life - Four Labourers, Tiraha Behram Khan

Waiting for work. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] They are sitting on their haunches, waiting for work. House painters Madan Lal, Gopal, Jagdish and Malik are stationed with their paint brushes in Old Delhi’s Tiraha Behram Khan. This…

Mission Delhi - Furqan Ali, Ghalib Academy Library

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He contains multitudes within himself. Furqan Ali writes verses in his journal, is a trained calligrapher in Urdu, and an archivist as well, and also…

City Food - Dilli 6 Chaat Bhandar, Outside Siri Fort Auditorium

The mother of all snack stalls. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Without doubt, this has to be the naani of all the roadside snack stalls. The unusually huge counter is filled with multitudinous dishes—aloo chaat, dahi bhalle, papri…

City Hangout - Masjid Udayan, Gurgaon

A cold-weather friend. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] A man is lying on a bench, wide awake. Some steps away, a chhole-bhature eatery staffer is hurriedly finishing his homemade dal-roti. While a cotton candy hawker, armed with plastic-wrapped…

City Hangout - Chekhov's Promenade, South Extension-2

A lane to breathe. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Very often restless people have the habit of pacing to and fro in their living room or on their terrace, if they have any. Such an exercise is said…

Mission Delhi - Aditya Raj, CR Park

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Such a vivid series of cumulous clouds. There’s also a man with a moth perched on his mouth. To a visitor at Aditya Raj’s studio…

Mission Delhi - Rajesh, Mathura Road

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Isn’t Rajesh a man’s name? Rajesh shrugs her shoulders. “My parents named me Rajesh, I don’t know why,” she says sombrely, admitting in a surprised…

City Landmark - Muhammad Ateek Chawbiwale, Tiraha Behram Khan

The key man. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s like discovering all the passwords of your online existence copy-pasted into a stranger’s laptop. Such is the alarm one feels on coming face-to-face with hundreds of keys hanging in…