City Life - Two Painters, Kamala Nehru Park

City Life – Two Painters, Kamala Nehru Park

On life and its disappointments. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is late morning and Manoj and Ravi are sitting in a city garden. The Kamala Nehru Park, tucked next to Gurgaon’s Roshanpura in the Greater Delhi Region,…

City Life - Ramrati in the Pandemic, Connaught Place

City Life – Ramrati in the Pandemic, Connaught Place

The living landmark returns. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Here she is. “I came back one or one-and-a-half months ago.” For years, Ramrati’s morning routine stayed the same: reading aloud passages from the sacred Ramcharitmanas, her upper-half rocking…

City Life - Fire-Side Memoirs, Roshan Pura

City Life – Fire-Side Memoirs, Roshan Pura

Finding old times. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is a cold late afternoon. Four labourers are sitting around a makeshift fire they have lit up from a pile of wooden planks. Two of them are in their…

City Obituary - Suhana Begum, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

City Obituary – Suhana Begum, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Life of a woman. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Her arms were covered with bangles, her ears decked with shiny stones, and stones were adorning her fingers too. She could be heard approaching from a distance, because of…

City Life - Gardeners' Dreams, Sector 15, Gurgaon

City Life – Gardeners’ Dreams, Sector 15, Gurgaon

Family of a couple. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It was decided some years ago: Mangal and his wife, Reena, will continue with their jobs until the career of their children are shaped — at least. “That is…

City Life - Downton Abbey Civilisation, Sunder Nursery

City Life – Downton Abbey Civilisation, Sunder Nursery

The world of the super-rich. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Seen Downton Abbey, the series on an aristocratic family and their servants, in 19th century England? Who would have imagined that it would take a historical necropolis to…

City Life - Bhag Bahri Malhotra's Nehru Park Connection, Safdarjang Enclave

City Life – Bhag Bahri Malhotra’s Nehru Park Connection, Safdarjang Enclave

A routine of 40 years. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Pathways go up and down the many slopes. Distractions include flowers and fountains, lovers and joggers, chai wallas and chips sellers. Nehru Park runs along a tiny patch of the Aravali…

City Life - Tailor Nathuram Ahuja, Ram Nagar

City Life – Tailor Nathuram Ahuja, Ram Nagar

Life in the pandemic. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] His routine stayed the same for more than 50 years. Every day he would be in his tailoring shop, working with the fabrics, the sewing machine, the inch tape…

City Life - Samina, the Single Parent, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

City Life – Samina, the Single Parent, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

Solo living. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It was not easy to live alone, so Samina got back with her former partner, a fellow beggar and a one-time cleaner in a hotel. He is also the father of…

City Life - Sonam's Musician, Vaishali

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….