Imagine yourself in the lanes of 18th-century Delhi, playing a pipe as you are walking along and getting invited to a popular coffee haunt in the city. This is the arrival scene of James Allen (b. 1734), a ‘celebrated’ Northumberland piper, as described in an 1828 book on his travels and adventures (A New, Improved,… Continue reading One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go
‘Have you seen this ethnography on the erstwhile Volga restaurant of Connaught Place?’ I asked someone during a conversation. ‘Is it a movie, since you are asking about seeing it?’ was the immediate response. Somewhere in the last few decades, we have started using ‘seeing’ with reference to text, meaning anything from ‘coming across’ something… Continue reading Seeing the city, one mug at a time
The buildings are tall. They are densely packed together. Some go really high, adding yet another half-floor, covered by a slanted tin-shade. Others fall short in claiming their position in the skyline, only because they are next to tall ones. Yet, two-thirds of this watercolour is devoted to depiction of the sky, covered in dark… Continue reading How many houses can you count in Jhabvala’s portrayal of this Old Delhi lane?
Walking in the lane from Chitli Qabar to Turkman Gate, you will probably miss what is perhaps the oldest surviving structure in Shahjahanabad. Now hidden in a narrow alley and surrounded by tall buildings, Kalan Masjid used to be known as one of the tallest mosques of the city. Unlike other mosques, you cannot see… Continue reading Kalan Masjid: A Pre-Mughal Structure in Mughal Delhi