Mission Delhi - Nem Singh, Kucha Lalman

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] Birds withdraw from their tree in the morning, and fly back to that same shelter by night. This bird leaves its tree in the sundown instead, and returns…

City Food - Deepak Kumar's Rasgulla-Bread, Nehru Place

Double treat. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He is standing motionless, like a statue – his arm resting on his cycle’s handlebar, his face exuding calmness. Every now and then, he glances about, as if to signal to…

City Hangout - Pandemic-Era Madan Café, Paharganj

A place for backpackers. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The cafés are once again crowded with backpackers. The paves are full of the blab of Israelis. The touts too have surfaced. Paharganj is back in business. If only….

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Susana Zarco, Rajokri

The parlour confession. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] She reads poetry and makes her own dresses. The Lisbon-born Susana Zarco walks into her drawing room, looking like a woman in a Vermeer painting. She designed this white-and-blue gown from a cotton…

City Landmark - Dharmender Kumar Soni's Goldsmith Workshop, Nai Basti

Of slow time. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] So tiny, so pretty—these objects, piled up on the mantlepiece. While a large wooden board adorned with an array of rings and pendants invite a second look for their delicate…

Mission Delhi - Arman, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] The mask hawker isn’t pushy at all. He quietly follows a passerby, and upon catching the attention, politely asks if the person would be interested in buying a…

City Life - Migrants Going Home, Gurgaon Railway Station

Big city disappointment. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Blue denim jeans, small enough to be of a child. A pair of white pajamas. A red lehenga with golden border. A blue sari with white polka dots. These are…

Mission Delhi - Manglu, Near Ashram Flyover

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] His robe is saffron. His turban is black. His beard is white. His nails are long. But it is his gaze that is the most formidable aspect of…

City Hangout - Meena Bazar, Old Delhi

The Other Chandni Chowk. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] These days people are composing new ballads for Chandni Chowk. The refurbished avenue has become more pedestrian-friendly for the Walled City aficionados. The change is believed to have accentuated…

Mission Delhi - Mukesh Kumar, Near Gurgaon Railway Station

One of the one percent in 13 million. [By Mayank Austen Soofi] His left hand has a ring on almost every finger. Some fingers have more than one ring. “These are for good luck,” says Mukesh Kumar. “And yet I’m…