Hungry? Check out Old Delhi’s paratha heaven

Paratha station

Welcome to Old Delhi’s Paranthewale Gully or, translated, the back alley of parathas.

Here two restaurants sit side by side serving up oil-fried parathas (also parantha, parotta and sundry other variants). Both claim to have been going at this trade since the late 1800s. Both also violate all manner of health codes, if they even exist.

And both are incredibly popular. I’ve eaten my share at both. Though I wouldn’t take Delhi tyros there, I have yet to die.

A paratha is stuffed bread that can be grilled, baked or, in this case, fried. It makes for unhealthy goodness and is a go-to Indian food served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between.

See below for a look at one of the paratha joints in all its glory.

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Protected: You’re in India. Don’t say cheese.

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Without people: Where have all the chai-wallahs gone?

A chai-wallah’s thela (cart) in Noida. Just fun to study all the little details.

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Colors of diwali

Painting with flowers

A day after diwali, friends and I got together to make rangoli. Well, technically, they made rangoli while I read. And then took pictures of the process.

The girls created a design with flower petals, flour and colored talcum — all part of the diwali tradition. And they lit the final product with diyas — small tea lights in clay holder. See below.

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Make rocket go now

Stand back

Every Diwali season, Delhi goes up in smoke. For days leading up to the festival of lights, kids and not-quite-kids “burst crackers” and light all manner of fireworks. It culminates in a hazy, loud, explosive night on Diwali itself.

Above and below are scenes from my neighborhood at about 10:30 p.m. They had been going at it for hours before. You can tell from the haze in the air.

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Diwali lights


A few months behind, but we’ll get diwali festive now. This diya and rangoli art comes from the patio of my landlord.

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Young man, blow your horn

Shadi ki band

The Indian wedding band. A loud, esoteric and wonderful institution. Is this man is playing a trom-pet. Or a trum-bone? I can’t tell.

During the groom’s procession at a typical wedding, a show of music, dancing, firecrackers, lights and is headlined by the band. It’s not clear, honestly, how much musical training these guys have, but they huff and puff and bang and harangue.

All good fun.

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Hungry? Check out this wedding spread

Wedge shami kebab

At the fancy Desi wedding I attended last fall with friends, food stations ran the gamut of Indian noshes. I made good use of my time at the veg (“wedge,” in the Hindi inflection) stalls.

Editing these photos makes me hungry. See below.

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Protected: Glittering folds

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Random party breaks out on long train journey

Impromtu train carriage show

During a train ride from Delhi to Pune in November, the berth just opposite my bunk happened to be filled with random musicians. WIth encouragement from much of the rest of the carriage, they took to song for several hours in the middle of our overnight journey.

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Actually sang me to sleep at one point. Click play above to listen.

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