Mission Delhi - Ram Bahadur, Jangpura

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Bhagwan Ram is embedded in the very fabric of this food hawker’s life. Let’s start with his name—Ram Bahadur, meaning Ram the brave. He sells…

City Food - Mrs Balbir Singh's Cooking, City Heritage

Story of Delhi cuisine. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In 1973, the Delhi-born award-winning actor Madhur Jaffrey immortalised her name in the world of international cuisine with her debut book. An Invitation to Indian Cooking subtitled Classic Indian…

Our Self-Written Obituaries - Sharda Mutha, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

The 251st death. [Text and photos sent by Sharda Mutha] There she was, in a small bright house that stood around the corner of a hill, visible like the fake-diamond piercing through her hair. It was a clouded afternoon, and…

Atget’s Corner – 1141-1145, Delhi Photos

The visible city. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Delhi is a voyeur’s paradise and The Delhi Walla also makes pictures. I take photos of people, streets, flowers, eateries, drawing rooms, tombs, landscapes, buses, colleges, Sufi shrines, trees, animals, autos, libraries, birds,…

City Landmark - Sibu Unisex Hair Cutting Salon, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon

A cool parlour. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Roadside hair stylist shops are like roadside chai shops—full of atmosphere even in their raggedness. Each establishment, along with its owner, staffers and customers tells so much about the locality…

Mission Delhi - Shamshad Khan, Bhalswa Dairy

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This afternoon, “bawarchi” Shamshad Khan is sitting alongside his cauldron filled with fragrant yellow pulao and modestly declares himself a professional success. “I’m all I…

City Faith - Shiv Hanuman Temple, Daryaganj

Shiv sighting. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In a city where blue sky is as elusive as a dream, it is dream-like to see Lord Shiv gleaming in blue—his statue is majestically perched atop this little-known but beautiful…

City Food - Pappu's Popcorn, Subhash Chander Bose Garden, Gurgaon

Taste of a life. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Popcorns are addictive. You eat one, and then you go on to eat all. The super-pricey popcorns you get in multiplex snack counters are truly delicious but please don’t…

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Sociology Professor Kiranmayi Bhushi, Asian Games Village

The parlour confession. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The Proust Questionnaire represents a confessional game that owes its structure to answers given by celebrated French writer Marcel Proust in two parties that he attended at ages 13 and…

City Hangout - Park Above Palika Bazar, Connaught Place

Springtime pleasures. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The sky is blue and puffed up with white clouds, the grass is lightly wet and people are looking less stressed. Delhi’s strangest and shortest season—from February to March—has begun. Neither…