Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Busy, very busy crowd jostling you from one place to another. People shouting, money flowing from one pocket to another, Deals happening in seconds. Take care of your wallet, bag and cell phone. If you are a woman take care of your breast and bum along with others before some random sick soul presses it and just runs away. Real ugly and sleazy scene yet it pulls thousands here on every Sunday. Throw your dignity, morale and ideas of saving unaccounted economy for a bit and get into the Mecca of all shopping places that you have ever seen.
Every world class city has a China town, Red light area and also a place where flying vendors or thieves sell stolen goods and there’s 100% guarantee that you will never meet that seller in your whole life again. Someone tried to sell me a 32gb Ipod in Bangkok for 1000 Baht. I didn’t fall into its prey. My friend bought an original latest Fendi glass for $20 from Soho area in New York. But Delhi stands out of all. It has a large wide market for stolen goods and cheap, fake knock offs which runs for a kilometer or more in the heart of the walled city in the close vicinity of two police stations. Believe me! This infamous market started from the time of British Regiment and maintaining its status till now. It earned so much of reputation that it has been rated as a topmost place to see in "Lonely Planet" in Delhi page. If you are careless and lost anything in last few days you may end up finding it here but you have to buy it again. Funny, isn’t it?
Two young boys are swearing each other over selling a pair of converse shoes to a person who doesn’t look to be from Delhi. The customer is not acting smart else he would buy from the one quoting the least price. I walk past them. An old man selling an almost brand new pair of "Woudland" shoes for 200 bucks. The Burqha clad lady selling hairpins and bunch of accessories for 10 bucks each. Three Eunuchs are picking up bindis, hair bands etc so loudly in sheer happiness. And next to her is a Gentleman selling two piece men's formal suits for 500 bucks. I almost faint with a shock. It was a real Canali Suit. Looks like it has been dry cleaned properly before selling. His name is "Akbar". I ask him "Where do you get them from?" He replies in hindi "Dont ask Sirji just take these for yourself or gift your bhaiya". On the other side a small boy selling Adidas socks, 4 for 100 Rs. I turned my neck towards the blaring music. Fancy colorful speakers from Korea, hongkong. Hand-made in China, hand-stolen in Delhi. Dont expect sealed boxes. Only undertaker sells empty boxes.
Two foreigners are haggling for 10 bucks over a bargain. The entire place is crazy. You have to visit here at least once just for an experience. You will go berserk over the whole thing. I felt a pull in my jacket from back. I turned and saw a small skinny girl. She is desperately trying to sell me a pearl necklace with ear rings for my girlfriend, sister, wife or somebody's wife. The funniest part is one ear ring is missing out of the pair. She promised to get me the other ring next Sunday. I can’t take this drama anymore. She chased me till I crossed the red light and disappeared towards the Red Fort. The bottom line is you can shop in a thieves market without getting caught. You have been to malls, supermarkets, floating markets and arcades. But this is unique out of all. It's a deal, it's a steal.
Monday, 27 February 2012
Cool breeze sweeping the walled city with a bright sunlight. Finally Delhi is nice, warm and cold at the same time. Fallen dry leaves are making a crackling noise as the street kids are piling them up to make a bonfire in the night or they may sell them to the vendor to make those "leafy plates". I take out my camera to take a picture and they are gone, running away with the rug full of leaves on their back. Some are wearing sweaters and some are not. Welcome to Dilli Spring which defines rebirth, renewal and regrowth of life, happiness, festivals and finally promises pleasant days after an extreme cold heady winter.
I talk to my friend in UK. No sign of spring there. Teeth chattering cold prevail in the air with occasional sprinkles. Entire Europe is shivering with minus 20 degrees and some home are not even receiving water or bare necessities. God Bless Dilli. Winter was definitely intense here than any other years but finally it’s bidding a slow good bye.
I take a walk into Lodi Garden. There's lot of sun here plus some seasonal spring flowers. Some I know and mostly I don’t. Yes there is Jasmine and a bunch of vibrant yellow colored flowers. What do you call them? I want to touch them and I do it before anyone or the gardener sees me. Bunking College students, kissing couples, resting drivers and old men are all soaking in the Sun. I buy a Cuppa Chai from the vending man for five bucks. Hot tea even tastes better with this weather. A small group of youth practicing some dance sequence. Looks like everyone is on a "spring break". I wonder why we Indians don’t have "Spring break" like those Canadians and Europeans. It’s a lovely short passing season and cutest amongst all. We should celebrate. I guess we are!
Chanakya Puri padded with greeneries looks little pale with the emptiness in the trees but its a party time around "Shanti Path". People are flocking up to the Australian Embassy for the "Spring Fair Fest". All overdressed affluent ladies from South Delhi flaunting their Choos and Pradas at 11 in the morning. What a sight! I settle with a pint of Kingfisher and look around the stalls. There's a Tarrot Card reader charging 700rs for a half hour read. Too pricy. Some nice designer stalls selling clothes and accessories. I turned around and stand at a corner where the crooner is singing some classic Rock song of Mick Jagger. I finish my beer and grab one more. It gets boring. I come out and take a walk.
I fell in love with the day, weather, people and the whole thing about it. I lie on the green turf next to the Pakistan Embassy. I look at the azure sky and smell the sunny earth mixed with some flowery fragrance or some perfume wafting in the air. I want to take a nap here. Beer in the day is making me drowsy. Day drinking is such a drag. Two cops are walking towards me. I get up and search my pockets. I am not carrying my visiting cards or Identity Proof. They will certainly ask me to leave immediately with at least ten questions. They smile and ask for "Machis". I gladly pass them my lighter. I am running low in cigarettes so I lit one without offering them. I am smart now. After all I live in Delhi. My spring day is done. I pick up my "Janpath" jhola and fade into the crowd. That reminds me I have to send my curtains and blankets for "Spring" Cleaning.
Thursday, 23 February 2012
“Where do you hang out these days?”
“mmm Haus Khaz Village”, and you? “Haua Khaz Village ofcourse”, and you? “HKVand you?”.. and this goes on!
Gujrati mirror work on the wall, sooty staircase as you squeeze yourself to fit into the narrow stairway that opens to "Lah". A newest Southeast Asian food joint run by the youngest entrepreneur Anisha Maker. She gives a warm welcome and talks to the guests personally which is a rarity in Dilli restaurants. The inviting green decor and the unique paintings, homely treatment will make you keep coming back for sure. This place has 20 covers and does not look very commercial but yet it has distinct features of any super hit restaurant. The food menu comprises of mainly Indonesian, Shrilankan, Malay and Thai Food. Not to miss out the noodle bowl with vegetables, meat and sauces of your choice. Malay curry with chicken and Indonesian dishes are big hit for main course. End of it, you will love every bit of Lah. Ideal for a lazy lunch with couple of friends over some slow gossip. Must come.
Building no. 6, 2nd floor, Hauz Khaz Village, New Delhi
Hidden above one of Hauz Khas Village's long narrow winding lanes. You have to climb up an Everest to get there. But once you get there it’s a bliss. Say it the ambience, view, food or anything! Even waiting at the corridor is also fun. People go there for many reasons. Food is not the sole factor though its great as it sells fast and this place is always chok-a-blok. Some come for its spectacular view, some come for beef, some come for its tastiest Methi dal, Some come for the appam. And you get all there. It serves fusion south Indian new age food. These days its really difficult to get seat as its so popular. Make sure you have a table booking. It’s a great place for socializing. So bring in your friends and gorge into the yummy foods and enjoy the cool breeze and incredible view of the Lake. You'd just love this hottest eatery. Believe you!
22, hauz khaz village, 3rd floor, Delhi 110016
Ph.: 011 2653 5700
If you are looking for a gig, good drinks and some crazy snacks, it’s your place. New hang out zone with an edge. It has a very different look and you can call it "alternative" by seeing its mismatched table chairs, sofas and the whole look of it. Cool saffron walls and hundreds of things hanging from it. Quick service for drinks but food might take some time. TLR is not famous for its food but never miss to order "Spicy Porn Cuffs". Lot of new singers in town come here to jam in. Fridays are awesome and there's always a gig happening. But Saturday and Sunday evenings are usually for couples. Loads of foreigners, cool crowd from "Uber side" and artsy people have made it a regular hang out place after work.
31, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi 110016
Ph: 011 46080533, 011 46080534
Disclaimer: The review is totally based on my experiences and is not influenced by any commercial flow.
Sunday, 12 February 2012
After a sumptuous lunch at "Gunpowder" in Hauz Khas Village which is known for the fashion and the art hub of Delhi with the funkiest eateries and cafes around midst of a crumbling monument, I go upstairs to "Boheme" for a cigarette break to breathe easy in the terrace.