City Life - Haji Fayazuddin's Hand-Knitted Cap, Old Delhi

City Life – Haji Fayazuddin’s Hand-Knitted Cap, Old Delhi

A souvenir of love and care. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He takes off the topi from his head, holds it carefully, the fingers moving slowly over the woolly texture as if they want to take in the…

City Life - A Working Family, Naya Bazar, Gurgaon

City Life – A Working Family, Naya Bazar, Gurgaon

All together. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s a freezing afternoon and they have just finished with the first half of their day’s work in Gurgaon’s Naya Bazar in the Greater Delhi Region—collecting the “kabad (scrap)”, from the…

City Life - Two Dogs, Zamrudpur Community Center

City Life – Two Dogs, Zamrudpur Community Center

Day-time friends. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Let’s be clear about this. One is not suggesting that dogs lead better lives than humans. Even so. Raja and Pushpa have a wonderful life in a commercial complex in south…

City Life - Wooden 'Takhat' Bed, Outside Jama Masjid, Gurgaon

City Life – Wooden ‘Takhat’ Bed, Outside Jama Masjid, Gurgaon

Our common bed. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is a single wooden bed, but quite broad. It is without a mattress or a bedsheet. No pillow, either. And this bed is for everyone. The cot—known as takhat—lies…

City Obituary - Sufi the Cat, Mehrauli

City Obituary – Sufi the Cat, Mehrauli

The passing away of a beloved. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Sufi died on 13 October, 2019, at her apartment in south Delhi’s Mehrauli that she shared with thumri singer Vidya Rao. “She went peacefully as I was…

City Life - Mohan Nagar Flyover Art, Ghaziabad

City Life – Mohan Nagar Flyover Art, Ghaziabad

City’s ironies. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] These cheerful murals beneath the new Mohan Nagar flyover relieve an otherwise bleak, dusty landscape. The suggestive sky on these panels is so brilliantly blue that it must surely glow at…

City Life - Five Comrades, Gurgaon Railway Station

City Life – Five Comrades, Gurgaon Railway Station

Band of brothers. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s a miserably humid afternoon and all the five guys are drenched in sweat. Pradeep, Sonu, Pintu, Naveen, and Parveen are lounging in an airy and less-crowded corner of Gurugram…

City Life - Big City Friends, Gurgaon

City Life – Big City Friends, Gurgaon

Bond outside the village. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They say it’s difficult to strike a good friendship. Especially between work colleagues. (You just have to eavesdrop on the lunch-time gossip in your office canteen.) But Rishipal and…

City Life - Hawkers' Closing Hours, Pragati Maidan Metro Station

City Life – Hawkers’ Closing Hours, Pragati Maidan Metro Station

Melancholic time of the day. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Something resembling melancholy tends to settle across the vast city in early evening when the crowded streets rapidly empty. Take, for instance, that path leading to Pragati Maidan…

City Life - Rickshaw Puller Saroj Pal's Pillow, Central Delhi

City Life – Rickshaw Puller Saroj Pal’s Pillow, Central Delhi

Material comforts. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This rather humid morning Saroj Lal in Central Delhi is still sound asleep in his rickshaw, his body splayed across it. With his feet lazily slumped over the handle bar. So…