Profiling the Unseen – New Delhi Edition – I

The last leg of this project, I’ll be sharing snippets from conversations with some of the people I met in New Delhi, India.

  1. Meet Kaalu, who works as a cobbler in New Delhi, India
Profiling the unseen

Kaalu works as a cobbler, on a street corner in New Delhi, India. At just 26 years of age, Kaalu is a master of his craft. So much so that many of his loyal customers save their shoes to be repaired by him, whenever they’re visiting the city from other cities and even other countries!
It is a hard job. Delhi heats can go up to more than 100 degrees, while winters can go down to 40 degrees. Despite the extreme weather, Kaalu seems happy that he is able to earn a sustained living.
His deepest desire is that things continue to go well and nothing untoward happens.

2. Meet Ramakant, who makes “Jalebis in New Delhi, India

Profiling the unseen Delhi India

Ramakant owns a sweet shop in an old part of Delhi called “Chandni Chowk”. He makes sweets called “Jalebis”. In fact, his version of the Jalebi is so big and juicy that it’s referred to as a “Jaleba”. Notice the spelling change 🙂
Ramakant’s sweets are famous among his customers and he has many loyal fans. The art of making a delicious jaleba runs in his family. In fact, he carefully selects apprentices. Only the select few get to learn the craft from him
Worth a try if you ever visit Delhi.

3. Meet Asif, who collects waste material for recycling in New Delhi, India

Profiling the unseen Delhi India

Asif buys scrap from people that can be recycled. People give him stuff like newspapers, books, plastic, metallic items, electronics, etc.
Asif really wants to grow his business but doesn’t know how to do so. He has simple questions such as where can he get a loan from, that too in a way that he is not cheated? Can he make more money with his existing resources?
Asif typifies small entrepreneurs in India, in need of basic knowledge and resources to help them grow and succeed. Someone who can answer their simple questions.


A few snapshots from the Wharton India Economic Conference, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal addressing the audience

Penn Museum

The venue at Penn Museum


PE and VC panel

An engaged audience

An engaged audience

Shabana Azmi and Vrinda speaking about women's empowerment

Shabana Azmi and Lakshmi Pratury speaking about women’s empowerment

Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi

Students debate with the speakers after the panel

Healthcare panelists

Healthcare panelists

Rob Sommers

Rob Sommers

The audience

The audience

Boman Irani and Javed Akhtar

Boman Irani and Javed Akhtar

Interesting debate between Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar

Interesting debate between Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar

Abstracts at the Lotus Temple

Today I went to the Lotus Temple for a short while. A Bahai House of Worship, it is a beautiful structure made of marble, and open to all religions. Shaped like a lotus (and hence the name), it is a nice place for a quiet little evening.

Given its shape, the Lotus Temple is a great place to shoot some abstracts. I do feel that someone who has spent some time studying buildings and architecture could have done much more justice to it!

Lotus Temple front face













Lotus Temple Petal













Pigeon on Lotus Temple leaf













Lotus Temple Side View

The magnificent Qutub Minar

I am back in India again and so of course, visiting some of the historical sites in Delhi was on the cards. A few days back, I went to Qutub Minar. It is strange the number of times I have passed this monument on the way to numerous places in Delhi, and become so used to its presence, never considering that it might be a structure worth visiting and admiring. However, with my relatively recent photography bug and the desire to enjoy some sun in this chilly winter, Qutub Minar was chosen as a good destination.

There is much more to Qutub Minar than just a minaret. While the minaret, tallest of its kind in India, is of course magnificent, there are a number of beautiful corridors and arches surrounding the Minar. If visited during the early hours of the day, it is a lovely sight to behold. Near the Minar is also the famous Iron Pillar, a pillar whose metal composition has somehow not rusted since its time of construction! Rightfully so, the Qutub Minar has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I took few photographs – going in the middle of the day offered plenty of sunshine but limited photo ops due to the multitude of tourists at the location.

Qutub Minar close up














Inscriptions on Qutub Minar














Qutub Minar

A visit to Old Delhi

It’s been an eventful trip to India. First year of MBA just got over and I am back in India for a bit to visit family and friends after one whole year. Much has happened…things have changed, people have changed, I have changed. New perspectives have been gained. A chapter in life has ended and a new chapter has begun. Life can indeed take unexpected turns.

Having spent most of my vacation coming to terms with this realization, I finally went out to do what I knew I loved – photography. It’s a shame that despite being brought up in Delhi for the most part, I’ve hardly seen any monuments in this historically rich city. And so I decided to pay Old Delhi a visit.

The Metro of course made the trip so much more delightful than it would have been earlier. I personally love taking the metro (I’m only 4 trips old though :)), and reached Chandini Chowk in air-conditioned bliss :). The stark contrast as one comes out of the metro station is perhaps something unique to India – from the clean, cool, and modern environ of the metro station, one enters the chaos of Chandini Chowk. As I threaded my way towards Jama Masjid, I passed a trash yard, a Nirulas cart, a ‘thela’ selling masalas, and rickshaws that would not stop even if you were standing right in front of them.

But, despite its quirks, contrasts, heat and sheer number of people, I still love India. Or maybe that is what I love? 🙂 I miss India there, and cannot wait to get back here, soon.

I did not really take many shots. The heat eventually did get to me, and maybe I was too lost in just looking around to bother much with taking photographs. Even so, I am sharing some of the better photographs I took. The monuments are Jama Masjid and Red Fort.

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