Kebab week, Vol. 1

The knights of Aap ki Khatir

R.I.P. to my favorite kebab stand in Khan Market here in Delhi.

In a process that seemed draconian and lacking in reason, police shut down a number of market stalls including a tiny branch of Aap ki Khatir, the hawker of heaven, the best kebabwallah on the planet.

I’m thankful that the older, bigger branch (above) still exists in the Nizamuddin neighborhood; but trips to Khan Market are a little less joyous these days without the promise of paneer paratha roll.

In honor and memory of the Khan Market Aap ki Khatir branch, this week I devote the blog to a series of kebab-wallah photos from a trip with friends to the Nizamuddin location.

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They are brick…. wallahs!


Meet a father-son recycling team in working Hauz Khas village salvaging brick and stone and rock from a building renovation. India is fantastically diligent about reusing anything of value. Well, at least we’re better than the West.

See more below.

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Squat for a shave

Old Delhi street grooming

Across India, barbers eschew the classic shop for something a little more open air. In this case, on the teeming bazaar road of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, you can get a close and proper shave for pennies on the dollar while sitting on the sidewalk.

Huzzah to the shaving wallah.

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Not exactly a fish-fry… but just as tasty

Roadside fry-up

Meet the Old Delhi pakorda wallah. On a roadside burner, he fries up batter-dipped vegetables for passers-by. Mmmm… I challenge you to not drool at the photo below.

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Paan, on the go

Mobile paan unit

From Old Delhi. A paanwallah’s carry-kit. Readers of this blog know of my flirtation (obsession?) with paan. While I don’t actually chew it all that much, every now and then I jones hard.

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Mirchi wallah!

Nap time for the overworked and underpaid

Meet the day laborer of Old Delhi. That’s a lot of packed hot pepper. See below.

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That’s no dried fruit


It took me a good long while to figure out that dry fruits, in the Indian context, are not dried fruits. From a dry fruit wallah in the spice market of Old Delhi.

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My regular paanwallah

My paanwallah

Fondly referred to as the disco paanwallah in Green Park market.

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Fruit, glorious fruit!


Mostly just testing the color capacity of my new point-and-shoot. Fresh guavas near the start of winter.

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Without people: Where is a good cycle-wallah when you need one?

Noida street

India’s population is set to pass 1.6 billion people by 2050; this is quite possibly the largest obstacle facing the country in the coming decades.

(In truth, population growth the world over will be one of the biggest trials our species faces.)

Anyone who has visited India knows: There are, quite simply, people everywhere, and it has profound effects on culture, social services and life for everyone.

With that in mind, I’ll be posting shots where people are conspicuously absent. Today and tomorrow’s posts will kick this off; I hope to continue it regularly in the months ahead. I’ll use a special tag: “without people.”

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