Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Photo Essay - Delhi Feet, Around Town

Photo Essay - Delhi Feet, Around Town

The low life.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Hello feet. So, what do you plan to do today? Why not again go to Salim Bhai’s tea-stall in Kucha Chelan and have chai in one of his disgusting white plastic cups?

Will you pay respects to yet another dead rat on the road?

Are you still naughty, stopping beside dirty foreign magazines at the Sunday Book Bazaar in Daryaganj? In any case, I don't want you to lose your flamboyant nature. Please show off your beautiful body again in some South Delhi party as you did a couple of nights ago? Or, at least bitchily compare your shoe-dress with that of your more glamorous rival?

By the way, aren't you tired of lounging at Ajay Guest House in Paharganj?

I wonder if you have finally found a home or you still sleep beside your tired shoes at that night shelter for the homeless in Chandni Chowk. (Do you still have your afternoon siesta at that wildish garden outside Humayun's Tomb?)

Come on, feet, be honest, do you still flaunt your Mexican tattoo in your wild Nizamuddin West roof-top bashes?

And have you grown out of Emily Dickinson? Are you still crazy about the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, Second Edition?

No, I'm not telling anyone but I hope you have stopped contemplating suicide from your Gurgaon high-rise.

Between us, can I ask a delicate question please? Just how it is like to be infested with maggots, and then beg in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti?

And dear feet, will you again step over somebody’s abandoned Happy New Year card as you did early this year? Please don't.

Look at the feet

1. (Ghaffar Manzil)

If You Poison Us Do We Not Die?

2. (GB Road)

Photo Essay - Delhi Feet, Around Town

3. (Nizamuddin East)

Keep Your Soul But Give me Your Feet

3a. (Mehrauli)

Body Parts

4. (Chandni Chowk)

Good Night, Feet

4a. Ajay Guest House, Paharganj

Wish It Were Mine

5. (Chankayapuri)

A Typical Third World Disparity

5a. (Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti)

Photo Essay - Delhi Feet, Around Town

5b. Deer Park

Photo Essay - Delhi Feet, Around Town

6. (Curzon Road)

Each Unit of Rhythm is Called a Foot of Poetry

7. (Gurgaon)

Suicide

8. (Daryaganj)

Foot Fetish

9. (Chirag Dehli)

Portrait

10. (Barakhamba)

Photo Essay - Delhi Feet, Around Town

10a. (Outside Humayun's Tomb)

Slipper

11. (Kucha Chelan)

Painter's Chai

11a. (Nizamuddin West)

Symbol from Mexico

12. (Blue Line, Delhi Metro)

The Unwalked Feet of the Tired Commuters

13. (Daryaganj)

The Smart Cheap Way to Avoid Sore Feet in Your World Trip

14. (Sujan Singh Park)

City Landmark – Chiki Sarkar’s New Publishing House, Near Kamal Nursery

15. (Outside Hazrat Turkman Shah's Sufi Shrine)

Abandoned Greeting

City Food - Daulat ki Chaat, Gali Kallan Kahar

City Food - Daulat ki Chaat, Gali Kallan Kahar

The snow dish.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Is it a snowy desert, or a dessert?

One winter morning The Delhi Walla came across street food vendor Kamal and his Daulat ki Chaat on Gali Kallan Kahar, a Walled City lane. This fabled dish of milk and cream is extremely delicate, and seems to be composed of nothing but froth, which you fear might disappear any moment. In 2011, I wrote about Daulat ki Chaat here, saying: "Much romance is attached to the making... One legend is that the milk is whisked under a full moon sky and the morning dew sets the resulting froth."

The vendor Kamal, too, had prepared it early in the morning. The sweet dish was arranged on a silver platter. There it lay whole, intact, waiting for its first customer. Scooters and rickshaws went past the cart one after another. A pack of mules, too, trotted forth stirring up dust.

The dish was covered in a white net to keep off the flies. Kamal carefully lifted it up to give a clearer view of his Daulat ki Chaat. It looked like an Arctic landscape of freshly whipped cream. After a minute or so, he pulled it back over the dish. He then pushed his cart deeper into the hopeful morning.

Barely here

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City Food - Daulat ki Chaat, Gali Kallan Kahar

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City Food - Daulat ki Chaat, Gali Kallan Kahar

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City Food - Daulat ki Chaat, Gali Kallan Kahar

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City Food - Daulat ki Chaat, Gali Kallan Kahar

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City Food - Daulat ki Chaat, Gali Kallan Kahar

City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

The remarkable Delhi instant.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It was time for poet Gulzar Dehlvi, who was seated on the stage, to perform his duty.

One evening The Delhi Walla was at the Ghalib Academy in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. A mushaira, or a meeting of Urdu poets, was about to began, in which the poets were to read out their poems on the stage. A number of Delhi's eminent verse writers were present; they included Iqbal Firdausi, Munir Hamdam, Rauf Raza and Javed Niyazi. Each had a badge pinned on the chest, which said ‘Poet’. The two women poets of the evening were Iffat Zarreen and Shabnam Siddiqui.

A giant wax candle was placed in front of the stage. In the old times when there was no electricity, and hence no mike, Delhi’s nighttime poetry meets--and they almost always took place during the nights—were held in the glow of a solitary candle. The room remained immersed in darkness, while a flickering lamp was placed beside the poet whose turn it was to read from his works.

The auditorium inside the Ghalib Academy, however, glowed in white light. There was also a podium and a mike. But the tradition demanded the candle to burn continuously over the course of the evening. The venerable poet Gulzar Dehlvi was given the honor to ignite the flame. He got up and lit the candle with a cigarette lighter. This was a signal to get on with the evening’s task. The audience cheered. It was a beautiful moment.

The flame of Delhi Poetry

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy

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City Moment - The Poetry Candle, Ghalib Academy