taking a walk in india and beyond

June 30, 2011

going to school

sitaram bazaar, old delhi

i'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. let them walk to school like i did — yogi berra

June 28, 2011

ghalib kebab corner, nizamuddin

ghalib kebab corner in nizamuddin was opened several decades ago. in all these years its only innovation has been to add chicken biryani, firni and pepsi to its menu. ghalib's strength is sheek kebab. for a restaurant barely larger than a living room, the fan following is enormous. it used to be the favourite haunt of nocturnal hostel students of delhi public school, mathura road, which is a kilometre away from nizamuddin. they would quietly scale the school wall late at night and run to ghalib. even the vegetarians would accompany their carnivorous friends to sample roomali rotis dipped in green chutney.

some people may not like the surroundings, and hygiene is definitely an issue. despite the drawbacks, this small restaurant has survived four decades, and even won the title of 'best kebab-maker' in a food festival organised by five-star hotel itc maurya sheraton. 

haneef qureshi, 64, has run the restaurant since the time it opened. he was young then. he has taken up no other work. he had gone on leave during this visit, while the cook managed the affairs. haneef is recognised among regulars as "the old man with the loud voice". you, too, will notice that if you went to ghalib.

shop no. 57, near lal mahal, ghalib road, nizamuddin, new delhi. timing: noon till midnight

June 26, 2011

the atlas never shrugs

how much load can a cycle carry before it goes to the scrap dealer? the answer, my friend, is pedalling on the road, the answer is pedalling on the road.

the lpg. one of the few items that gives nightmares to politicians. high lpg prices + public anger = less votes.

June 23, 2011

lal qila models

when the queue at the entry ticket booth at the red fort, delhi, is too long, people prefer to sit near the fort walls and wait for their turn.

ashpreet sethi of the sunday guardian avoided the long wait and returned home, but not before striking a pose. a lal qila moment.

cubicle nation

office-goers show their gratitude to the country. (mantri mall, malleswaram, bangalore)

June 20, 2011

June 18, 2011

day of the housefly

i am a housefly and this is my story. one rainy evening i clung on to a string for my dear life.

i didn't get washed away when the rain stopped. how i survived i don't know.

i clung on for a while until i saw the birds go home. they always look good against the setting sun.

but only birds can't have all the fun, so i crawled towards the sun.

and got myself shot. fuck you ugly birds!

June 16, 2011

just because it looks like a garage doesn't mean you can get a screwdriver here

pecos has evolved into an institution. opened in august 1988 by a bombay businessman, colin timms, pecos's seductive gloom or claustrophobic elegance — call it what you may — and its unique music, besides the food and beer, have created a place that a certain kind of bangalorean calls home.

pecos takes its identity as a pub seriously and serves only beer. a poster behind the counter warns: just because it looks like a garage doesn't mean you can get a screwdriver here.

(text by bharadwaj mv, the hindu)

mg road, bangalore

the indian coffee house on mg road was where staffers of next door deccan herald used to go between 5.30pm and 6pm every day, not to eat toast or dosa, but to enjoy a good gold flake. it was shut down in april 2009, and was shifted to church street, just behind mg road.

there was a cigarette shop outside the old indian coffee house (it is still there). the cigarette man decides to play humour to customers who light up. in the background one can also see a bangalore metro pillar in the initial stage of the project.

also read 'coffee minus the smoke' in the discontinued short takes column 'salt and pepper' in the times of india, bangalore

(the images were shot with a cellphone camera in 2007)

June 14, 2011

outer circle, connaught place

in a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. in a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of — confucius

end of road for iconic car

this hindustan ambassador must have once been a taxi or a minister's personal car. very unlikely for it to have played any other role. 

dead but not yet that dead. (safdarjung enclave, new delhi)

(for more images in this series, visit life of a vehicle)

June 11, 2011

icon of sorts




the autorickshaw driver is a fan of bollywood actor rani mukherjee. he said he worships her. (saket, new delhi)

in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is no such thing as atheism. there is no such thing as not worshipping. everybody worships. the only choice we get is what to worship. and an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it jc or allah, be it yahweh or the wiccan mother-goddess or the four noble truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. (david foster wallace)

June 8, 2011

service centre

jostling for space at a modern market complex and flanked on both sides by the swanky glass windows of kotak mahindra bank, nirula's restaurant and airtel office, is an unnamed cycle-rickshaw repair shop.  

the shop has aptly advertised itself, so much so that any rickshaw-wala will instantly know it is the place to be when the chains come undone or the tyres squeal. (yusuf sarai, new delhi)

June 6, 2011

chugging into history

a walk in the national rail museum yard takes a while, and the line of vintage trains never seems to end. the place is eerily quiet in contrast to how these giant locomotives must have had roared across towns and cities in their heydays.

the great indian peninsula railway (gipr) was india's first railway, according to records at the museum. some say it was also asia's first railway. the east india company gave the licence to a private british firm to operate gipr under the same name. it was formed in 1845.

the great, great, great gipr iron horse.

the museum is also a nice picnic spot. kids love running about the trains (with their moms chasing them).

the maintenance shed where the museum staff usually hang around.

the indoor gallery has interesting titbits about railway history. on a personal note, i remember a friend who sent me this letter on gmail some years ago, disguised as a 'santa banta' joke. i am thrilled to discover that fact is stranger than fiction.

(for more rail museum images, visit national rail museum, chanakyapuri)

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equipment: canon eos 50d , canon powershot g12 , canon eos 7d, nikon d3000, pentax mx-1, panasonic lumix SZ10 software: adobe lightroom 5 images hosted on picasa web albums, link available on request special thanks to m s gopal all rights reserved


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