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Mail Today newspaper, part of the India Today Group, is awestruck by this blogsite.
[The newsreport was published in the print edition of Mail Today on January 3, 2008. The story is by Binoo K. John]
Perhaps the most compelling and attractive Indian blog I have come across is the delhiwalla blog run by Mayank Austen Soofi. Soofi is a creative photographer chronicling Delhi, its moods, its tombs, its histories and its dirty face with some amazing photography. He takes pains to avoid the clichéd angles and there is an effort to capture the defining moment.
Like all bloggers he puts his daily activities up there for us to comment on. Soofi, like me, is an unrepentant and unabashed fan of Arundhati Roy who is all over his blog starting from his blogs tagline (The city of tombs, trees, Arundhati Roy and other artists…”).
The single column on the right showcases Soofis Delhi pictures (Safdarjung flyover, Urdu Bazar, guitarist inside Barista). Its worth visiting the blog just to admire Delhi seen through Soofis lens. Soofi took off for his year-end vacations on the Jaipur and Agra circuit with what he wryly calls “Roys twins” (Esta-Rahel in Arundhatis novel GOST).
There are many comments posted, suggesting that the blog has won over fans. It will be difficult for bloggers to match the wow factor of this blog. Those personal multi-cultural experiences make for good reading. Excerpts from his holiday experiences posted on New Years day: “The medieval alleys of Ajmer, saturated with Jerusalem-isque spiritualism, overwhelmed my senses. The meetha paan in Jaipurs Jauhri Bazaar brought me easy laughter. The Hindu-Muslim-Christian influences in the ruins of Fatehpur Sikri made me sentimental. The obscene beauty of Taj Mahal blinded my eyes. I did other, unmentionable, things too. Like the namaz number in Ajmer dargah and evening aarti in Mathura's Krishna temple. It all was heady and too much. Sometimes I had tears in my eyes.”
Soofis photographs, which he puts up in Flickr, has won a world of admirers for him. He has four other blogs including one called “Pakistan Painabad” and a book review blog. These Soofi “shrines” are a must for all bloggers. And they are a good read too.