City Landmark - Three Delhi Friends, Old Connaught Place

City Landmark – Three Delhi Friends, Old Connaught Place

A Capital ritual. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This is the story of three men in their mid-80s who meet every Sunday in Connaught Place for coffee. The rendezvous always lasts 2 hours, starting 10.30am. The friends have…

City Landmark – Ram Chander & Sons, Connaught Place

City Landmark – Ram Chander & Sons, Connaught Place

India’s oldest toy store. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The pillars outside the corridor have been repainted. The adjacent Odeon Cinema has been taken over by a multiplex chain. Elsewhere, most familiar landmarks have given way to junk…

City Landmark – Steam Engine, Copernicus Marg

City Landmark – Steam Engine, Copernicus Marg

Made in London. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This little steam engine looks like a toy, but it is real and has a name – MTR No. 1. The maroon locomotive in central Delhi’s India Gate circle has…

City Landmark - Haji Hotel, Motor Parts Market

City Landmark – Haji Hotel, Motor Parts Market

The Walled City’s billion-star hotel. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Old Delhi’s Haji Hotel lies in the congested Motor Parts Market. There are shops selling used car tyres. It is almost impossible to simultaneously inhale oxygen and fight…

City Landmark - Standard Restaurant, Regal Cinema Building

City Landmark – Standard Restaurant, Regal Cinema Building

A New Delhi souvenir. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The empty ground floor used to be its pastry counter. The Delhi Walla is at Standard restaurant, a place that no longer exists. Opened in 1957, Standard was in…

City Landmark – Jackson's Books, Paharganj

City Landmark – Jackson’s Books, Paharganj

Delhi’s most charming second-hand bookshop. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The Jackson’s bookstore in central Delhi’s Paharganj sells novels and guidebooks at discount prices. This cramped shop has books in more than 10 languages, including French, German, Italian,…

City Landmark – SKV School, Zeenat Mahal, Lal Kuan

City Landmark – SKV School, Zeenat Mahal, Lal Kuan

A neighborhood’s future. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A cat’s drawn-out meow cuts through the squawking of chickens. These sounds, typical of Old Delhi, recede as the empty yard fills. The morning assembly at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV)…

City Landmark - Jawaharlal Nehru University, South Delhi

City Landmark – Jawaharlal Nehru University, South Delhi

Kremlin on the Jumna. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A spectre is haunting Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) — the spectre of Indian dialectical materialism. Dialectical materialism, as anyone in JNU will tell you, is a philosophical approach…

City Landmark - Sapru House, Mandi House Chowk

City Landmark – Sapru House, Mandi House Chowk

The decline of an institution. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] More than 50 years ago, on the first day of May, Jawarharlal Nehru flashed a smile (recorded by a grainy b&w photograph) as he flung open the doors…

City Landmark - St Stephen's College, North Delhi

City Landmark – St Stephen’s College, North Delhi

The algebra of infinite merit. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Sorry, Stephanians. You will never get as majestic a view as enjoyed by the college across the road. “Hinduites are so lucky to have us facing them,” says…