Mission Delhi - Babar Ali, Jama Masjid, Gurgaon

Mission Delhi – Babar Ali, Jama Masjid, Gurgaon

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] A hotel near Jama Masjid. Sitting behind the counter, its manager Muhammed Sadiq opens his lunch box. The chicken korma, dal fry and rotis were…

City Landmark - Central News Agency, Connaught Place

City Landmark – Central News Agency, Connaught Place

Mother of news stands. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Before he became the prime minister, Manmohan Singh was a regular. Painter MF Husain too would be sighed here. But this place in Connaught Place is more than its…

City Obituary - Mirza Yaseen Baig, Founder of Midland Bookstores

City Obituary – Mirza Yaseen Baig, Founder of Midland Bookstores

Passing of an icon. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] Warm, affable, easy-going and with a crackling voice, it was easier to imagine him spending his waking hours beside his grandchildren, or beside chirpy flocks of pigeons. But his…

City Faith - Bankey Bihari Mandir, Inder Walli Galli

City Faith – Bankey Bihari Mandir, Inder Walli Galli

House of faith. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The lady in blue sari is walking down the lane of Inder Walli Galli, here in Old Delhi. At each step she pauses and takes a deep breath. She stops…

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Proust Scholar William C. Carter, On Marcel Proust's 100th Death Anniversary

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Proust Scholar William C. Carter, On Marcel Proust’s 100th Death Anniversary

The parlour confession. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] How many people do you know who have actually read In Search of Lost Time in its entirety? Marcel Proust’s French novel, À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu, has seven volumes and more…

City Library - Premchand's Archives, Premchand Archives & Literary Center

City Library – Premchand’s Archives, Premchand Archives & Literary Center

Author’s home. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Dainty and dense, and tidy enough to be decipherable. This is his hastlipi (handwriting) in Hindi. And his likhai (handwriting) in Urdu, ditto. The writing of Premchand (1880-1936) is a sangam…

City Monument - Anonymous Ruin, Mehrauli

City Monument – Anonymous Ruin, Mehrauli

A sad beauty. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is there. And it is not there. Both assertions are based on ground realities. This severely damaged edifice in Mehrauli is the very essence of contemporary Delhi, where relics…

City Food - Shravan Kumar's Tea Stall & Shiv Temple, Bhogal

City Food – Shravan Kumar’s Tea Stall & Shiv Temple, Bhogal

A spot of refuge. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Such a soothing place, feeling so drowsy here. The elderly man in white kurta pajama is indeed nodding off. Can it be because of the easy winter light streaming…

City Food - Daulat ki Chaat, Around Town

City Food – Daulat ki Chaat, Around Town

The CP spirit. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] It looks exactly like Old Delhi’s daulat ki chaat. But young Lokesh in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar, wheeling his cart about the post office building, insists it is makhan malai. To…

City Hangout - F Block, Connaught Place

City Hangout – F Block, Connaught Place

The CP spirit. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] The benches are stained with bird droppings. The muddy ground behind is littered with rat holes. The neem tree isn’t particularly shady. And yet, this place gives you a shat-pratishat…