Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Shopping on Janpath – patri – street or flea market

Revisting Janpath, yes despite being in Delhi, I had not shopped there in ages. Sangeeta (my sis-in-law) and to be doctor niece (Ananya) were the reason for this re-visit. Their enthusiasm for the shopping was infectious. The place looks the same but the pavements are full of artificial jewellery in metal, clothes, home furnishing and more. It took half an hour, for the old enthusiasm for Janpath and the bargaining prowess to take hold. And then it was three cheers to shopping, shopping and shopping… in my Dad’s parlance – buying, buying and buying..

The pedestrian road from the open area before New Book Land, till the road connecting Jeevan Bharati is lined with shops on both sides selling a humungous variety of jewellery and clothes. It is in junk jewellery, it revels. There are neck pieces, very unique for garba, for simple night outs, for gifting. The patterns and designs are refreshing and the choice is huge. Almost all shapes and sizes of ornaments are covered. We came across kundan neckpieces with enamel work at the back, looked nice, inexpensive and fun to wear. There were snake shaped gold coloured bangles twisted like a spring. There were mang tikkas, arm bands, baju bands, pajebs, nose clips, baalis, chaand baalis…

The other attractions, clothes in a huge range. With winter not yet having made its appearance when we visited a few days before Diwali, clothes were predominantly for summers. So short skirts, tops, patchwork pyjamas, shorts, leather skirts, crop tops, shirts, ponchos, hoodies, T-shirts with attractive images and slogans were everywhere. Bling is still in and one can see it a host of cropped tops .

Nostalgia - Janpath was a huge draw for all of us while studying. It had the maximum of export rejects and one could get the best of clothes at throw away prices. Of course, it came at a price at being shouted at back home (my mother) for picking up rags. Though that is another story that I was initiated into Janpath and its fun aspects by my Dad. He had an eye for the unusual and picked up some great stuff. And even I felt it had some outstanding stuff. There was the Annapoorna Restaurant which served some good cakes. Sadly it is closed.  

Shop Timings – 10 onwards is a good time. Think it is open till 8 pm in the evening. It is open all the 7 days of the week. The pucca shops may be closed on Sundays.

WhereJanpath Footpath market, near the Indian Oil building.

Highlights – There is a man selling excellent brass ware affordable in the middle of the market. The bags in the beginning of the huge open space near New Book Land, the circular book shop in the middle of Janpath behind the Indian Oil building.

Insider Tip – Depaul’s is still there, but it is not what it was. The lemonade and ginger ale counter does not work. Though the range of cold coffee available has increased and it is DELICIOUS. There are host of flavours from hazelnut, mocha, cappuccino, vanila. It comes in take away bottles with the brandname on the bottle. Very different from what the ambience once was. But still popular. There is a stall selling Momos outside which is equally filling and tasty. The paneer momos were specially good. There ia another Dolma Aunty Momo shop next, which we did not try. The Bookstore next to it which used to always buzz with activity again sadly was not open. Depaul’s used to be such a cool hangout…well things do change.

While Shopping – bargain and bargain, 50% upwards thumb rule. Though once you buy a few products, you will get the hang of it.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Eating Out in Delhi...watch for more updates

Food glorious Food….thus the song from Oliver captures our relationship with food. Recently food has been subjected to more than its fair share of publicity and coverage. Yes social media is chock a block full of food articles, write ups, cookery shows, recipes, what is coming as a revelation is that Delhites seem to be favouring eating out more than anyother activity. I am serious…really… at the recent Dastkar exhibition at Kisan Haat, I was told by a participant that most visitors come straight and visit shops which are opposite the food court and then go straight for the food. Stomach satiated, it is back to their homes. Even a cursory shopping activity is not undertaken.

Similarly at the Swiss Embassy Christmas Market, the food section was crowded to the hilt in comparison the shopping at the various stalls was slightly lower. I will not say business was bad but the food stalls did thriving business.

What further adds to the Delhi palette is its easy adaptability. Be it Chinese, Italian, Thai, Lebanese, Middle East, French…it is simply absorbed in. And I am not making any remark on the adapting the food for the Indian palette be it the ginger garlic tadka with pasta.. So dining joints, restaurant, take away and what not thrives…

Delhi is a huge melting pot of influences which is amply reflected in its cuisine. Today, the melting pot assimilates national, international cuisine, some cuisine “adapted” to Indian taste well – Chinese a huge example in this direction. Delhi offers innumerable places to eat, each having its own traditional offering. The food palette includes almost all kinds of food from India and a delectable spread of International Cuisines. Traditional Indian food is classified apart from geographical bearings as per caste, religion. The nuances are plenty as also the range of spices, condiments and vegetables, fruits, cereals, meat, rice …that is added.

The Capital’s foodaddiction includes the classy Chandni Chowk fare – the Delhi Bania style of cooking in pure ghee without the use of onions, garlic, the Mughal style of kababs, biryani, the Punjabi touch of Pindi chole, Rajma chawal…Regional cuisine can be tasted from spicy Andhra Fare, Namma Tamil sapadu (Karol Bagh, Lodhi Road..), Malayali fare of puttu…Gujarati, Rajasthani snacks and thalis, Parsi, Iranian, Anglo-Indian fare…..Yes, it is food lover’s paradise. No pun intended, a friend’s husband on a visit to Delhi from Kerala, asked in all innocence “don’t people cook at homes, the food stalls are always so very crowded”!!!

This section tries and captures some of the best to be indulged in Delhi. No, this is neither a “eating out of the street” kind of a vengeance section neither “oh how can they eat street food – with emphasis only on chic upmarket cuisine” atitude. But in turn it is a slave to the taste buds, yes anything that tastes good, is different, has you ruminating about its glory during the day and pursuing it salivating in your dreams. Being a vegetarian, an eggetarian to be precise, the non-veg food section might not be justifiable but I shall make amends with recommendations from die hard “only non-veg” friends!

Happy Eating (Munching, Lunching, Snacking……..) Hopefully, we will also do individual stories or a little round up of the eating joints we love and frequent, post New Year…(Fingers crossed that this Resolution will be kept!!!)

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