I had the “pleasure” of meeting with Paharganj’s stoner filled streets and export goods for the first time a couple of years back but felt nothing for it; I’d gone with my then beau, roamed around a little, bought a few unimpressive trinkets, had the customary drink at My Bar and gone home. I didn’t really see a reason to go back, till today.Eager to check out the food scene (and to land the perfect pair of boots), I geared up, to fly solo this time. With my ears perked up like a baby Labrador and one hand constantly on my phone, I trod my way cautiously through noisy autorickshaws, bikes and my biggest fear- cows. I was expecting to be groped, teased or pulled into some sort of drug scandal (it’s possible that I may be just a teeny bit paranoid) but instead, I was enveloped in friendly chatter, 143 different colours, the shimmer of brass and the subtle sheen of leather.
I was soon at home, opening up my wallet at every second shop, attempting to take back a piece of everything my eyes were devouring and exchanging pleasantries with strangers – it almost didn’t feel like Delhi. It reinstates your faith in being able to do human interaction. At the end of my four odd hours here, I was acquainted with:
1. An export boots guy who has a secret stash of boots in every size and colour.
2. A chappal man who will make customised kolhapuris [my alien narrow feet are going all happy feet at the thought], gladiators or anything else you can think of – he seems pretty open to a challenge [his name is S Gambhir but he is very jolly]. The shop’s name is Vishal Footwear.
3. Belly dance accessories, bracelets, ear cuffs, neck pieces, earrings. All customisable too. Head to Guru Handicraft Emporium for your fill (shop no. 1192).
4. Antique-y jewellery made out of brass, wood and even faux bone at India Handicrafts Jewellery (shop no. 1080).
Leather satchels, duffel bags, sling bags and totes. You’ll find these strewn all across the market.
5. A couple of rooftop bras (hic). Among these, Krishna Palace and Exotic Rooftop Restaurant and Club India are the most popular.
6. An AMAZING place which does sushi just right and at a fraction of the usual cost. This is bang in the middle of the market and the name keeps changing. It was called Dhanyavad the last time I checked.
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