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

June 28, 2011

ghalib kebab corner

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. noon till midnight

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 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 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 gipr iron horse.

the maintenance shed where the museum staff usually hang around.

the indoor gallery has interesting titbits about railway history. 

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

June 5, 2011

national rail museum, chanakyapuri

the steam locomotive model no. mtr-2 greets visitors at the gate. it was built in 1910 by dick, kerr & co. for the karachi port trust.

the 11-acre-large yard has about 100 original locomotives of different make — steam powered, diesel engine, vintage coaches, etc. 

the steam engines are huge and look quite powerful.

it is hard to believe trains used to be like this.

although the museum staff discourages people from climbing on the trains because the metals have rusted, one can go to the farthest corner where it is quiet and the engines are unprotected.    

when one sees these majestic vintage steam engines from the 1890s still standing among us even today, the experience is hard to describe. 

maybe spiritual.

(for more images of national rail museum, visit chugging into history)



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