Mission Delhi - Parash Ram, Hazrat Nizamuddin East

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s Raksha Bandhan festival and Parash Ram is wondering what if he were in his village in Lalitpur, MP, this day. “My sister, Preeti, would…

City Hangout - 7 pm Monsoon Sky, Barakhamba Traffic Light

Season in the city. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The evening sky is stained in pale but pellucid pink. Such a gauzy shade materialises only by the chance entwining of the monsoon clouds with the setting sun. Meanwhile,…

City Food - Fresh Fruit 'Roller' Ice-Cream, Mathura Road

Too much natural. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A moderate crowd of idle pedestrians have gathered about the cart. Their faces are full of wonder. This so-called ice-cream is looking so different from the factory-manufactured nutty-buddy and chocolate-chip….

Mission Delhi - Ramesh Kumar, Chitli Qabar Chowk

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Mobile phone has become as necessary as oxygen. Everybody seems to need it. Not Ramesh Kumar. Even though, he says, he earns enough money as…

City Food - Spring Roll and Other Fries, Khandani Pakodawala

New in old. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Icons are in a shift. Delhi’s Central Vista is changing, and Delhi’s Khandani Pakodawala is changing too. This legendary place has been making a dozen different kinds of pakodas since…

Mission Delhi - Anand, Near Gurgaon Bus Stand

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Anand is carrying a huge gunny sack on his back. “It looks heavy but is actually light,” he says. This evening, near Gurgaon’s bus stand…

City Landmark - Lonely Planet Afghanistan, Delhi's Book Bazar and Bhogal

Book and land. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] You are so wrong if you believe that Delhi’s Sunday book bazaar is dispensable. That place is like a gigantic public library whose used books are oftentimes precious souvenirs of…

City Library - Rakhshanda Jalil's Mills & Boon Collection, Central Delhi

Part of her past. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] How could any man be so mean? Could Kate really bear Adam long enough to discover the gentleness he apparently possessed? More urgently, did Rakhshanda Jalil really care? Turns…

Mission Delhi - Devki, Hazrat Nizamuddin East

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This role, to her, is both familiar and strange. Familiar, because being a working woman is by no means a novel experience. She has been…

City Hangout - Cul-De-Sac, Jacobpura

Dead-end destination. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Undeniably, some words are more intriguing than others. One can spend an entire afternoon thinking of them, uttering them out loud, seeing the image their very mention forms in the mind….