City Hangout - Surinder Tea Stall, Gurgaon

City Hangout – Surinder Tea Stall, Gurgaon

Stall’s saga. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The pavement chai stalls are often a storehouse of hard-luck stories. Some are suffused with the life of their customers. Others are permeated with the hopes and disappointments of their owners….

City Hangout - Ashok Kumar's Onion-Scented Tea Stall, Gurgaon

City Hangout – Ashok Kumar’s Onion-Scented Tea Stall, Gurgaon

House of tea. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The idea of an onion-scented chai might not appeal to all, but it really is delicious. And, for the record, the chai doesn’t taste of onion. The unnamed tea stall…

City Hangout - Anupama Sweets, Kailash Colony

City Hangout – Anupama Sweets, Kailash Colony

Homely eatery. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Visitors to Delhi who hang around for a few days can’t help noticing all those exotic restaurants in fancy markets and malls offering specialty dishes from around the world, and also…

City Hangout - Secondhand Bookshelf, Quill And Canvas, South Point Mall

City Hangout – Secondhand Bookshelf, Quill And Canvas, South Point Mall

Books with a background. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is true. The neighbour’s drawing room shelves do reveal a glimpse of their private life. That’s why it’s so tantalising to browse about the secondhand books stacked at…

City Hangout - Theater Traffic Circle, Mandi House

City Hangout – Theater Traffic Circle, Mandi House

An unusual playhouse. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A handful of traffic circles in central Delhi have become something more than just that. The circle on Janpath is a sprawling garden with trees teeming with bats. While another…

City Hangout - Plane Spotting, Vasant Vihar

City Hangout – Plane Spotting, Vasant Vihar

Air-borne thrills. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] One’s heart goes out to the rich people of Vasant Vihar. There’s so much noise pollution in the genteel south Delhi enclave crammed with gracious bungalows and apartments. The very air…

City Heritage - The History of Daryaganj's Sunday Book Bazaar, Central Delhi

City Heritage – The History of Daryaganj’s Sunday Book Bazaar, Central Delhi

History of a historic hangout. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Yes, it was dusty and crowded, and it was difficult to weave your way through the great mass of sweating people. But it was one of the most…

City Hangout - Best Reading Spot, Agrasen ki Baoli

City Hangout – Best Reading Spot, Agrasen ki Baoli

Book lover’s space. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] One can’t run short of words in praise of Agrasen ki Baoli—a stone step well so beautiful that it has often appeared even in Bollywood movies. The well’s 14th century…

City Hangout - Frangipani Island, Niti Marg

City Hangout – Frangipani Island, Niti Marg

White stars. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Traffic islands seldom distinguish themselves as works of beauty. But then there’s that traffic island in Central Delhi that contains a grove of fulgent frangipani trees, laden with white flowers resembling…

City Hangout - People Tree Bookshop, Connaught Place

City Hangout – People Tree Bookshop, Connaught Place

A ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ little store. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Some bookshops exist outside the mainstream, and in which you’ll come across titles almost impossible to spot elsewhere. One such place exists in the heart…