City Hangout - Brijendra Jain's Mask Stall, Chawri Bazar

City Hangout – Brijendra Jain’s Mask Stall, Chawri Bazar

New faces in town. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] You probably won’t spot such a wide range of quirky and cheap masks in online shopping sites. Neither in the upscale Khan Market, where a Front Lane store has…

City Hangout - Unnamed Lake, Sunder Nursery

City Hangout – Unnamed Lake, Sunder Nursery

Reflected beauty. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Some places evoke ethereal poems that have never been written, but which you’ve always been looking for in poetry anthologies. One of them is just here, in your own city, an…

City Hangout - Chacha Chaiwale, Haveli Bakhtavar Street

City Hangout – Chacha Chaiwale, Haveli Bakhtavar Street

A hyperlocal tea house. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He can easily pass off as a barista serving the poetic world of ghazals and nazms. Seated beside his coffee machine, the gracious-seeming man in long beard is wearing…

City Hangout - Peepal Tree & Sant Lal's Tea Stall, East of Kailash Enclave

City Hangout – Peepal Tree & Sant Lal’s Tea Stall, East of Kailash Enclave

Landmarks in corona. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The lockdown has eased. One has to get used to stepping out of the house carefully (gloves and mask) and to get acquainted again with the city’s little nooks and…

City Hangout - The Missing Ramzan 2020, Hazrat Nizamuddin's Dargah & Old Delhi

City Hangout – The Missing Ramzan 2020, Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah & Old Delhi

Landmarks in corona. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Ramzan 2020 is ending this week. Yesterday was Alwida (farewell) Jumma, the last Friday of a sacred month in which the Muslims believe that the Quran was sent down from…

City Hangout - Mayawati's Tea Stall, Pamposh Enclave

City Hangout – Mayawati’s Tea Stall, Pamposh Enclave

Landmarks in corona. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s a sweltering afternoon. The public life here in south Delhi’s Pamposh Enclave is a tad less dead than it has been over the previous month. More cars and bikes,…

City Hangout - MF Husain Marg and Other Husain Hotspots, Around Town

City Hangout – MF Husain Marg and Other Husain Hotspots, Around Town

In an artist’s world. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Though lockdown is easing, entering the world outside is still risky. The old carefree pre-corona days are gone. And yet, some of us are already day-dreaming of going back…

City Hangout - Lockdown Lanes, Khan Market

City Hangout – Lockdown Lanes, Khan Market

Corona on the front lane. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] No clacker-clacker of high heels on the front lane pavement. No one saying, “My daughter, who is doing her MBA in New York…” No famous face is to…

City Hangout - Ghost Street Stalls, South Delhi

City Hangout – Ghost Street Stalls, South Delhi

The life in lockdown. [Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi] The yellowing leaves fallen from the tree above have carpeted the dusty ground, turning it into a padded mattress of golden-yellow. A large wooden chest is stacked against the…

City Hangout - Carom Clubs, Around Town

City Hangout – Carom Clubs, Around Town

Players of the underbelly. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In the famous Premchand short story, Shatranj ke Khiladi, the chess players continued playing chess and lost the city of Lucknow to the Brits. Something similar is the story…