City Hangout - District Park, Jasola

By a hospital. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The mere sight of a hospital stirs up our deepest fears. The world around it suddenly seems too carefree, its concerns flimsy. That’s what makes Jasola District Park in south…

Mission Delhi - Mukti Ram Parajuli, Delite Cinema

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Tuesday afternoon. The balcony lobby is quiet. An attentive ear may hear the muffled sounds of film dialogues coming from inside the theatre’s thick doors….

City Landmark - Vandana Book Shop, Aurobindo Market

Labour of love. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s a bookshop run by a family. It’s also a bookshop run by a family. Its staffers are very polite, very attentive. Its staffers are also very polite, very attentive….

Mission Delhi - Munawar Begum, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] She is grinning. Her smile is sparkling brighter than her tiny nose ring. Munawar Begum’s only son has successfully completed his 10th standard. “See, this…

City Hangout - Jaiveer Singh’s Covid-Era Chai Stall, Roshanpura

Hard times. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] His world has reduced. Stacked against a showroom’s glass wall, Jaiveer Singh’s pavement kiosk in Gurgaon’s Roshanpura has lost its joy. This afternoon, the stall seems barely alive. A man is…

City Obituary - Pianist Mahesh Agrawal, The Ashoka

The Steinway man. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He was the man who had been regaling audiences on Delhi’s sole Steinway on public view—at The Ashok—for more than 30 years. He died during the second surge of the…

City Landmark - The Ashok, Chanakyapuri

The 5-star hotel at 65. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The red sandstone edifice is regal. The sweep of the driveway is as majestic. Just walking on it makes you feel like a head of State on way…

City Landmark - Ghantaghar Clock Tower, Hari Nagar

The circle of time. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This place is like a sheet of paper that has been folded many times over. So that the original page gets balkanised into many little sheets, with each fold…

Delhi's Bandaged Heart - Shahana Khatoon's Poem 'Almonds', Shaheen Bagh

Poetry in the city. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] The evening sun is setting behind the Metro station. The adjacent drain, clogged with plastic bags, has turned ethereal in the twilight gold. In her early 20s, Shahana Khatoon is unhurriedly walking…

Mission Delhi - Liyakatullah, Galli Choori Wallan

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It looks like a cave, but completely of wood. The tiny store in Old Delhi’s Galli Choori Wallan street has its doorway flanked on either…