Delhi whispers softly to my ears to write its secrets, untouched places, juicy stories, Gory details, bloody truths and about the funniest moments....Finally Delhi has cast the spell on me and here I go online after being completely smitten by its beauty or oddity! Places, faces and the spices...here I come.
Some work on Sundays and some rest on Mondays. Cycle of life
rotates entire Delhi stopping in a loop for a day in our man made seven day
week. Business Delhi. Bizzare bazar. Do they actually shut in any day? Every
Market area of Delhi chooses to stay closed once a week. Really? Have you ever
visited any market on such day and came out lugging shopping bags in two hands?
Delhi is unpredictable. This can happen to you if you visit any market which is
especially close on that particular day of a week. You can even get better deal
specially marked for that day. Yes it happens!
Enter Central Market at Lajpat Nagar? Isn't lajpat nagar
only known for Central Market? This phenomenal Market is officially close on
Mondays. But the entry area is open and also there is a syndicate for Delhi
Police and there are two cops controlling the security measurement and watching
every entrant carefully. No there is no restriction that you cannot enter the
Market. Why are they entering? What will they do in the market on such day? Is
this a residential area? No not at all. Then?
The huge corner shoe shop upon entering is open and is
displaying Sale. Two middle-aged women are coming out empty handed. Array of
clothing, cheap cosmetics, hair accessories are being sold on the road by the
hawkers under kerosene Hazac light. Everything is available here. This market
has to offer a lot on Mondays like any other day. Sandals, junk jewelry,
skirts, shawl, kurtas, fashionable t-shirts, harem pants, shorts, scarves and
lot of inexpensive pretty looking wallets and bags are being sold. You will be
baffled exploring the scene on an official close day. Some salesman and hawkers
are even aggressive on selling their stuff. The arguments just started between
a customer and the salesman. Not much sell happening today so why not trying a
bit with the customers? They might end up buying some. Customers won’t give up
and hawkers too. This goes on!
So what is the reason? Ajit a local hawker says “The market
needs cleaning once a week so we close it on Mondays." He is fibbing or
does not know the reason because the market is equally dirty like any other
day. Litters are everywhere from plastic packets to crushed coke cans.
"This market is actually close today, only we small time hawkers come with
our stuff to sell", this guy is wrong too. "Incense" the biggest
chain of Delhi urban fashion is open, even "Ritu Wears". They are big
ones. Another comment from a salesman, "We are open for this marriage season,
otherwise we are close". It looks like people just need some reason to
keep their shops open. There are Autos waiting outside, The Car Parking guy is
shouting and directing cars to park properly, Delhi police PCR Van is waiting
around the corner, many food stalls are selling mouthwatering greasy snack. The
entire market is lit up with 60% open stores and many customers going in and
coming out maintaining the hustle-bustle of the market atmosphere but maybe
little less than other day. So what are you waiting? Shop till you drop. Are
you open or close? Yes or no?
How to get there: Nearest Metro station: Lajpat Nagar.
Yes they still sell dry fruits and engage in money
laundering.Well, the former happens in
Delhi and the latter source is not a part of the story. A gritty side of Delhi
wrapped in exotic Candy Floss. Come eat it. The Crowd, hustle busle, flea
Market and people are around everywhere. They are walking, running and also
shoving you if you plunge into the crowd of Central Market. Once a refugee
colony still maintains its status for many. Welcome to Lajpat Nagar. One of a
kind and is the largest colony in the entire south Delhi. Lajpat nagar has a
history of embracing foreigners from pre-independence era. Many outsiders have
made this colony to their home but the presence of Afghan Community has been
manifested since many years very strongly. Some have their business, some come
to India for the medical facilities, Some for studies and rest are living here
permanently while others are just having a good time in Delhi as tourists.
There is no reason why have there been so many Afghanis. In
the close vicinity of Lajpat nagar in Bhogal area there is even a specialized
Afghani hotel called "Hotel Kabuli". There are handfuls of Afghanis
in Bhogal but the whole lot continue to exist in Lajpat nagar for over a
decade. They look different so they are easily identifiable. Tall, extra fair
with long clothes and loud accent. That’s how they have been dealing in
business. Many fly over the borders to India to sell dry fruits. Aaraq or
Aaragh is 32 years old man and drives a Honda City and has an Indian Driving license.
He finds handling business in Delhi easy but again there is a lot of
competition with other Afghanis who are emerging in the same business every
single day. With more and more Afghanis pouring in Lajpat Nagar has become the
hub of Afghanis.
Welcome to "Kabul Delhi Restaurant". This is a
pure Afghani restaurant where they serve delicacies of Afghanistan. It is
located right across the Central Market. You can actually see all tables are
full and mostly Afghan patrons and few Indians are starting at the menu deciding
and discussing what to order. This busy restaurant also has a dias where you
can sit down cross-legged and eat. It’s like sitting on the floor and eating
food. This restaurant is tiny but looks pretty with the giant picture of
Ayatollah Khomeini that goes so well with the size of bread that they serve
with pickled lady fingers, worth a try. The best and talked about dish here is
Biriyani and korma served by some young Afghan men.
Back to the rutted road of Lajpat Nagar. Next to Kabul
restaurant is an Afghan Medical store. Even the name and the address is written
in Afghani language or in Arabic. Afghani Women walking in groups and one of
them is carrying a Haruki Murakami, hawkers shouting and selling their stuff,
Rickshaw walas are waiting for their customers, a group of young men are
congregating around the tea stall and engrossed in some loud conversation,
Smart Afghani guys in skinny jeans are coming out of the parlor one by one and
the scene goes on and on. There is a also a small travel agency that sells
direct ticket of some Afghan airline and also promoting medical tourism. On top
of it there is a sign of "Room to let". Everyone has a place to stay
and live their own in Delhi. Diversified Delhi is proud to host Afghan
Community in its warm lap of Lajpat Nagar. Its crowded but welcoming. So come