taking a walk in india and beyond: photos | stories | essays

June 28, 2011

Ghalib Kebab Corner

Ghalib Kebab Corner in Nizamuddin is several decades old. Ghalib's strength is kebab and tikka. 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, 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. Open noon to midnight.

June 16, 2011

Indian Coffee House, MG Road

Indian Coffee House on MG Road was where staffers of the next door Deccan Herald newspaper used to go every evening, not to eat toast or dose, but to enjoy a good Gold Flake or a Navy Cut.

It was shut down in April 2009, and was shifted to Church Street, behind MG Road.

There was a cigarette shop outside the old Indian Coffee House (it might still be there). The cigarette man decided 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.

(Photo shot with a cellphone camera in 2007)

June 11, 2011


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 at the National Rail Museum 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 network, according to records at the museum. The East India Company gave the licence to a private British firm to operate the GIPR. It was formed in 1845.

The gallery. 

June 5, 2011

National Rail Museum

The steam locomotive model no. MTR-2 has been installed at the gate of the National Rail Museum, where iron giants of yesteryear have been let to rest in peace. It was built in 1910 by Dick, Kerr & Co. for the Karachi Port Trust.

The 11-acre-large museum has some 100 original locomotives – steam powered, diesel engine and vintage coaches made of wood.  

Trains used to be like this.

Although visitors are not allowed to enter the trains, one can sneak out to the farthest corner on the compound where it is quiet and the engines are unprotected.    

(For more images of the National Rail Museum, visit Chugging Into History)


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