Thursday, May 28, 2009

Photo Essay - Big City Loneliness

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
Contact for ad enquiries.

Big City Loneliness

1 in 13 million.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

In this crowded city, loneliness is hardly elusive. It is sitting on the steps of Rajauri Garden metro station, crouching on the grassy grounds of Lodhi Garden. It is a silhouette in Central Park, a broken soul at Nizamuddin dargah. Loneliness is a coolie in a railway station, a society lady in a living room. It is even a bird, bitch, or kitten. It is also a beggar, also a best-selling author. Here’s the proof.

Mirza Ghalib's Tomb, Nizamuddin Basti

Ghalib's Cat

Rooftop, Old Delhi

Big City Loneliness

Living Room, Malcha Marg


Outside a mandir, Kailash Colony

Two Ladies

F-block, Connaught Place

Big City Loneliness

Matia Mahal, Near Jama Masjid

Long Night; No Dreams

Lake-side, Lodhi Garden

Single in the Garden

N-block, Connaught Place

Big City Loneliness

Pavement, Road (Unknown)

The Enlightened One

N-block subway, Connaught Place

Big City Loneliness

Auto, Near ITO Crossing


N-block, Connaught Place

Big City Loneliness

Living Room, Sujan Singh Park

City Landmark – Khushwant Singh, Sujan Singh Park

Metro Station, Rajauri Garden

Self in the City

Music Shop, Connaught Place

Music Shop in Delhi

Outside Golcha Theater, Daryaganj

Seeking Solitude

N-block, Connaught Place


Living Room, Nizamuddin East

Living Room Solitude

Near Statesman Tower, Barakhamba

Gay Delhi

Stairs, Hazrat Nizamuddin Station

Oye Coolie!

She too is lonely, Hauz Khas

Bird Watching

Bus Shelter, Tolstoy Marg

Missing Someone

She too alone, Paharganj

Missing Someone

Near Regal Cinema, Connaught Place

Single in the City

Courtyard, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Maula Mere Maula


Which Main? What Cross? said...

Clap. Clap

Ibanov, Sir Rekaf said...

I can understand the kitten but how can the people be so lonely in spite of having one of the oldest cities of the world for company?

Brilliant photos. As is the norm.

LumousP said...

Nice pics, Austen.

Snobster said...

Brilliant : )

Mainak said...

Loneliness? Never felt lonely in Delhi! It is photography effect.

Brilliant photography meant to turn around the ideas of the reader towards lonelines in big cities! ;)

SS said...

Ibanov, living in old and modern cities does not erase loneliness -- it is a state of mind. one can have all the amnentities around them, but it is hard to escape the inner self when found unparallel to its surrounding. Surely, you too, have felt a pang of loneliness at some point in your life, no? If not --I would be concerned, just a bit ;)

Mayank, the photo essay is interesting.


Lucie said...

Strangely enough, I never felt lonely when I lived in Delhi. As a foreigner, I stuck out like a sore thumb so there was always curious enough to stop me and ask questions, and as a woman, I was told to avoid wandering around alone, so most of the time I was accompanied by friends, or by someone concerned enough about my well-being. The biggest loneliness I have ever felt was in cities that are "perfectly modern", clean, safe, efficient - like London and Singapore. Everything is designed for the person who is alone and human contact has been made redundant. For example, here in London, I can use self-service checkouts at the supermarket, so I don't need to have contact with any human being to get my food. Same with train tickets, even library books - there is a self-service machine for everything and if there isn't, then it can be done online. It's depressingly easy to go for days, even weeks, without talking to anyone. Delhi, thanks to its craziness and "backwardness", is a little less lonely than that, even though it's bigger.

desdemona said...

its lonelier in the smaller towns, take it from a small towner. atleast the metros make you feel like you're not the only one who is alone..
especially cities like bombay where you wonder how one can feel alone, in the bustling traffic or the packed trains..
good work, mayank.. pls open ruinedbyreading to public or send an invite..

Ibanov, Sir Rekaf said...


Try Bombay then - even the city can't stop you from feeling lonely.

ramesh_lalwani said...

Congratulations Mayank for presenting such a lovely set of photographs of known and unknown Delhiwalas.I dont think Khushwant Singh and Sadiya could be placed in that category.I liked all your photos.

Rajiv said...

TAnhaaaayiiiiiiiii,gr8 pics,soofi sahib

Prasenjit said...


Big cities do make me feel lonely, quite paradoxically. Bombay, Delhi, Chicago, New York, London, everywhere...

Small towns are much more homely. At least they treat you so if you live there for a while. After some time everybody seem to know you either you interact with them (shop-keepers, milkman, barber et al), or they see you walking on the road, take your morning jog in the park, or whatever else you do... Sometimes I miss the anonimity one has in the big cities, but at this stage of my life, I am happier in a cozier small town. In fact, it is perfect for me in Allahabad.

kumar v said...

Maan gaye janaab !
Keep it going.

John Huber said...

Thank you for sharing the photos. Your eye is so sharp. You show the city and her people so clearly. Almost matches the clarity of my memories there.

Vishal said...


1. Go to the pic with pigeon/bird

2. Focus on raised right leg of the bird for few seconds

3. Now rapidly keep blinking (without stopping) for few minutes.... it will appear as if bird is walking towards your right side...... if it is not walking that means either ur properly not focusing or you are not blinking rapidly enough for a sustained period of time......

Khudos to MAS the Illusiongrapher :)

Vishal said...


MAS some more feedback...

1.Show aany man a lone pussy and you can always gain their approval, so no extra marks to you here.

2. Many of pics do not hv loneliness becuase there are too many ppl in the frame, there must be onle one living being in the frame, or their eyes do not reflect loneliness rather they show a singular living being, some are in motion they cant be lonely even if they are solitary but still moving ahead............ please choose pics carefully...........

VERDICT: lazily crafted blog though pussy is always good .... lol

anjali said...

the facinations of delhi... interesting

Ashish Tiwari said...

beautiful...i live in is massive.though nicknamed the self centred city but i believe delhi is growing rapidly and after 5-10 years the infrastructure would be much and much better as compared to where it stands now...yes i believe i seen delhi back in 1998 and now in 2010 the facade has change a lot and that's a positive sign...i personally love this doesnt bothers to me if certain areas are filthy and dirty..that's the story with every city in a 3rd world country,be it delhi,mumbai,johanessburg,rio...everywhere poverty is a problem