Mission Delhi - Pramod Kumar Padhy, Sector 121, Noida

Mission Delhi – Pramod Kumar Padhy, Sector 121, Noida

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The year is 1985. Place: Departure terminal, Rome airport. They knew they would not meet ever again. Moghul was flying to his home in Lahore, Pakistan, and Pramod Kumar Padhy was returning to…

Home Sweet Home - Houseless Men's Wardrobe, Chawri Bazar

Home Sweet Home – Houseless Men’s Wardrobe, Chawri Bazar

Private is public. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A blue lungi is hanging in front of a shuttered shop, folded within a mishmash of power cables. Nearby, a baniyan and underwear are on a similar exhibit. Across the…

Mission Delhi - Saurabh, Sohna Road

Mission Delhi – Saurabh, Sohna Road

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] There was no window in his single-bed ward at the Covid-designated ICU. But there was a large one in the adjacent ward, connected to his by an open door, and he could see…

City Hangout - Shidipura Graveyard, Near Filmistan Cinema

City Hangout – Shidipura Graveyard, Near Filmistan Cinema

A lonely planet. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The world is so much at turbulence. But here, all is at peace. Which isn’t surprising for this is a graveyard. Shidipura Qabristan, near Filmistan Cinema in central Delhi, isn’t…

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Sushma Seth, New Friends Colony

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Sushma Seth, New Friends Colony

The parlour confession. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] She’s 85 and so elegant, stately, regal and her white hair is so beautiful—even on the phone screen. Actor Sushma Seth is chatting on WhatsApp video from the home in…

Mission Delhi - Kamni, Hauz Khas Village

Mission Delhi – Kamni, Hauz Khas Village

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Her husband makes yummy chicken curry. “But we haven’t had it for a long time,” says Kamni. Her reason is simple enough. “I no longer earn as much as I used to before…

City Life - Lockdown's Abandoned Phone Numbers, Around Town

City Life – Lockdown’s Abandoned Phone Numbers, Around Town

The sights of the pandemic. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] When the markets shut down, when the metro stopped running, when those who had the luxury of a house exiled themselves within the walls of those houses, when…

Delhi Metro - First Pandemic-Era Ride, Yellow Line

Delhi Metro – First Pandemic-Era Ride, Yellow Line

Masked new world. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Clean, bright and sanitized. And silent. As the Delhi Metro reopened, more than five months after coronavirus changed the world, its scenery is weirdly reminiscent of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’,…

City Monument - Green Door, Galli Chooriwallan Street

City Monument – Green Door, Galli Chooriwallan Street

On the death of a door. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s gone. Until last week, the beautiful door was there. But not anymore. Nor the old house behind it. A black plastic sheet stands in place of…

Mission Delhi - Meera Sachdeva, Tagore Garden

Mission Delhi – Meera Sachdeva, Tagore Garden

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] She has lived through the Second World War, and through many other profound historical shifts. Including the Partition. Actually, she came of age in what is now Pakistan. She is 93. “No (public)…