The weekly bazaars of Delhi are legendary. Decades ago, it was the place where everyone shopped for day to day necessities especially vegetables, plastic knick knacks, masalas, glassware etc. Most of the bazaars can be said to be held next to the villages of Delhi. The origins may have been a Haat or a market for the villages to sell their produce. With time, with urbanization of Delhi, the markets have held their place. Instead of loosing out on popularity, they have gained in numbers and the crowd that visits them. The migratory population in Delhi finds it an apt place to shop for clothes and cheaper varieties. For many lower middle class Delhites, it is a way to beat the inflation. It might not be “the” place to be seen but for many regulars it is an ideal joint to pick up vegetables and fruits. The range is wide and the prices are very reasonable. So for even the upper middle class and above, it is a place to shop for fresh vegetables.
The weekly bazaars are held all over the city, with a day specified for it at that place. Many of the sellers are regulars and are organized through an informal organization. So a seller might sit at a Budh Bazaar (Wednesday market) in one locality and for the Veer Bazaar (thurstday market) in a neighbouring place. When I was young, I remember to have bought a pair of very small glasses made of brass for playing. The seller was a local craftsman who had bought it and on my falling in love with it, my mother bought it for me. I do not know the price, but I still have the wonderful pair. At the weekly bazaar in Saket, Malviya Nagar, there are sellers who bring some wonderful wooden crafts. There are gypsy women selling their wares of iron girdles. The circuit of the participants varies, someone operating in the East Delhi area will have one market every day to cart his wares in the East Delhi area only. The same goes for Rohini, Janakpuri and more. The organizer for a small fee ensures that places are allocated and given to the same person in that market every time. There is also a sense of discipline. South Delhi has seen a reduction in these markets, but I start this series in a bid to document the various Weekly markets of Delhi. Speaking to the organizers and more importantly picking out what can be bought here, any particular ware which stands out…. Here’s to the “village markets of Delhi”, which keep reiterating that despite all the urbanization, luxury malls and fast paced metro like life, Delhi is still a gigantic village at heart!!!!