Delhi Walla: An Interview with Mayank Austen Soofi

Posted by Laura Mansour • Thursday, September 1. 2011 • Category: Arts and Beyond

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KM: There is very little information about you on your blog so can you tell us more about yourself as a person?

Mayank Austen Soofi: I am a writer, I grew up in Nainital in the mountains and I came to Delhi 6-7 years ago to work. When I first arrived in Delhi I used to sleep in a slump next to a bridge but I have no regret, it was difficult living conditions but it was a good experience.

KM: You have 6 blogs, you wrote 4 books and you also work for the Hindustan Times, how do you run all this at once? Do you run all this by yourself?

Mayank Austen Soofi: Yes I run all this by myself! I just want to write, take pictures, hang out and get around New Delhi’s bazaars.

KM: I read that it was the publishers that came to you and not the contrary, how do you explain this? Why do you think you are so successful?

Mayank Austen Soofi: I see Delhi with different eyes. I take it differently and it is reflected in my writing. I just want to describe things exactly how they really are, never to simplify complicated things, and never to complicate simple things.

KM: The percentage of illiterates in India is still high, so as a book lover have you ever thought about getting involved in promoting reading and writing in even the most remote villages?

Mayank Austen Soofi: Yes! It is a good idea but I just want to write now.

KM: Have you ever heard of the book crossing concept? Do you think it would be popular in Delhi’s metro?

Mayank Austen Soofi: Sure, I have heard of it. But it is not very popular here and in fact it already exists in some of Delhi’s cafes.

KM: Could you give us a “top five” list of things to do while in Delhi?

Mayank Austen Soofi: 1. Jama Masjid Bazaar by night
2. Buy books in Sunday bookshops in Daryaganj
3. Eat Aloo Tiki in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi
4. Hang out in Khan Markt
5. Visit the Red Fort

KM: I’ve seen from your blog that you interviewed a lot of people from all backgrounds. How do you usually make the first move?

Mayank Austen Soofi: Every person is interesting, you just feel the wave. I usually sit with them and we quickly become friends.

KM: Finally, if you had to give one word to describe Delhi, what would it be?

Mayank Austen Soofi: Fantastic!

KM: Thanks so much for your time!

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