Delhi's Belly

Pragun Aggarwal

Illustrator

 

Wandering through the charming by-lanes of Old Delhi, it’s hard to miss the delicious smell of street food wafting through the air. This aroma can only come from the ‘food capital’ of India, Chandni Chowk. It shares an intimate relationship with food that has been shaped over eras, right from the Mughal rule. With succulent jalebis, hot from the bubbling oil and fresh tandoor parathas served around each corner, it is a food utopia with cuisines and flavours for every palate.

 
 

Pragun’s journey of discovering the essence of Chandni Chowk started with his mother. “Having been born and brought up amongst all the diverse flavours and hustle-bustle of Chandni Chowk, she has always had a lot of stories to tell me from when she was my age.”  He adds, “After visiting these streets myself, I realised that the place was not just about the food, but was an overall enlivening experience.” 

It was through this experience, that Pragun decided to use Chandni Chowk and its street food as inspiration for his Taxi Fabric, Delhi Belly. “Many aspects truly represent Delhi, such as the architecture, the diversity of culture, the language, so on and so forth. But for me personally, the food culture, especially the street food culture, really brings out the vibe and spirit of the city.”  Over the years, it has grown into an experience which brings together people from all over the world to converge right here, at Chandni Chowk.

 
 

So, this mouth-watering Taxi Fabric takes you on a food trail where you discover an overwhelming variety of the city’s specialities. Whether you want an afternoon snack of steaming samosas and a cutting chai to go with it, or a spicy kathi roll to satiate your hunger, Delhi Belly has it all. “Delhi Belly brings together two main components of my story; the food itself, and the geographical location of Chandni Chowk at the very heart of the city,”  Pragun chose to express his story through the medium of watercolour. “I wanted to have a very honest, hands-on visual approach to this very experience,” he explains, “The medium helped me express more effectively, and added a very raw character to my storyline.” This hand-painted approach lends a natural appeal to the street food illustrations. 

 
 

Pragun was excited to be given a canvas and scale of this sort to express himself. “I have been closely following the Taxi Fabric project and the crowd-funding campaign since its inception. Being part of such a diverse group of artists is definitely stimulating, and I was looking forward to seeing how I could do my bit in adding character and richness to the great gamut of work that has been done so far on this project.” 

Having beautifully (and deliciously) captured Old Delhi’s character, Pragun’s Taxi Fabric is hard to resist. A food lover’s paradise, it will lead you straight into temptation. So, if you have an appetite, Delhi Belly is here to satiate it… and it will leave you craving for more! 

 

Photographs by Raghuvir Khare &  Saumya Gupta

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