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

July 29, 2011

siri fort stadium

this is where badminton player saina nehwal won a gold medal in the commonwealth games in october 2010. then hundreds of people had thronged here and pushed and shoved to enter the stadium, yelling and kicking, holding their tickets high and waving for the staff to notice and let them in. 

now it's a ghost town.

because the authorities think it's a bad idea to let the masses use the world-class facility. the entire place has been nailed shut. 

the siri fort stadium located within the older siri fort sports complex is maintained by the delhi development authority (dda). the stadium was completed just in time before foreign athletes flew down to delhi for the games. it was the venue for badminton and squash battles.

 a young systems engineer with six-month experience was the only person present inside the building. "i take care of security installation and circuits. i don't have much to do all day and i get bored alone," he said. "will you eat with me today?"

lakhs of rupees are spent on electricity and maintenance. one of the security guards, who did not want to appear here, said he has a kid in school who plays badminton. he is puzzled why the dda doesn't allow people to use the facility. the government keeps advertising about how this country's sports talent needs world-class nurturing. but that turns out a lie. the dda wants to maintain quality between events as letting people in and out freely may damage the insides.

another group is protesting against the stadium's closure, and they are angrily using this place for target practise.

there they are.

(with inputs from anamika nandedkar, senior staff writer, hindustan times)

July 27, 2011

Khub Chand & Bros

Khub Chand & Bros at Connaught Place. That's where you get the best pork in Delhi. 

Cassettes that used to roar yesterday have retired into the cupboard today.

Expert speaks: Even allowing for inflation, you have to love their rate list: pork kindney (proving that beauty is not just skin deep), sparibs and troters — two fighting clans from middle earth — and frank furter, who, if you remember, was "just a sweet transvestite, from transsexual transylvania" in the rocky horror picture show. ("That's a rather tender subject. Another slice, anyone?") — Sajan Venniyoor

For the legendary Bangalore Ham Shop, visit Slice of History, The Times of India

July 22, 2011

langcha bazaar

langcha is sweet preparation. shaktigarh at bardhaman district in west bengal is famous for this item. langcha can be had hot or cold. it looks like gulab jamun, except langcha is longer in size.

 "it's very sweet. your head will reel," said a friend.

 for some people tea may be a bad idea after stuffing sweets. but there is no harm in trying.

langcha bazaar. (national highway 2, burdwan)

July 21, 2011

trinamool congress

 most of west bengal is dotted with this floral party symbol of the trinamool congress after mamata banerjee became the chief minister, replacing the red and sickle theme walls of the commies.


July 20, 2011

hauz khas village

hauz khas in delhi used to be a large reservoir during the reign of the 13th century delhi sultanate. what remains today is a patch of land that seems like it has been decorated overnight by a landscape designer. houses and commercial buildings have mushroomed around the site, reducing the monument to a garden showpiece of nearby residents.

the water body that apparently used to serve as the reservoir is now a mini sanctuary for birds. For more images, visit safdarjung enclave.

(images cross processed with lightroom cp-2 option)

July 17, 2011


the utterly butterly delicious express crawls in the traffic to enter kolkata before the crack of dawn. (en route to bardhaman, west bengal)

July 14, 2011

china in india, a glance

like the proverbial wolf, modern india in recent times has been whispering that the chinese are coming. but they already came and perhaps, left. the chinatown in kolkata is the only chinese settlement in india. its wikipedia entry says the population of ethnic chinese decreased from 20,000 to 2,000 since the 1920s. most members of the community work at nearby tanning units.

there are several chinese and 'indian chinese' restaurants in the area. some community members have made it big in the restaurant business. it is also a favourite getaway for kolkata denizens when it comes to satisfying that craving for stir fried noodles. 

the election symbol of the trinamool congress has mushroomed everywhere, even in chinatown, after mamata banerjee became west bengal chief minister, in what the media aptly titled: didi is the new dada.

enter the dragon.

(images 'cross processed' with lightroom cp-2 option)

July 12, 2011

when the going gets fast, the fast turns slow

an old man with a walking stick can outrun the kolkata tram, which moves at its own comfortable pace without giving a hoot to the chaotic traffic ahead and behind. everybody must wait. the times are such that 'being faster' is synonymous with success and energy, but this mode of public transport has survived in kolkata, in perhaps what is a subtle reminder about the importance of a 'pause' in the daily run.

no need to hurry. 

but how to overtake a tram is a complex question. even the roaring bus must slow down.

 and here comes the other contender for public transport in kolkata.


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