We all have our ‘own’ Delhi. Some like malls, some go to ruins and some hang out in discos. I go to Khan Market. (O God, please don’t let my editor read this piece. She says Delhi is more than just Khan Market). But it’s my column and I love that place. Everything from Khan Chacha ke Kebab to pavement dogs to foreign magazine stalls to free toilet to sightings of the city’s VIPs.
Now when the year is ending, I’m having that same sinking feel that I always have when I’m doing my evening stroll at KM and the bazaar starts shutting down. So, here’s my year-end ode to that place.
6.35 pm: Peak hour. Noise. Chaos. Screams of ‘hi’s and ‘hello’s.
7.05 pm: People-spotting exercise in full steam. Farukh Abdullah inside Dayal Opticals. Rahul Gandhi having a brownie at Barista. Amar Singh picking DVDs at Mercury Audio and Video. Author Manju Kapur browsing at the Faqir Chand bookstore. Singer Shubha Mudgal darting out of the Gate No. 1. Actor Shawar Ali wandering by himself.
7.30 pm: Inside Bahrisons. Someone switches off the lights. The Gorkha guard rolls down the curtain on the entrance door. Another employee brings in his cycle. It will stay inside for the night.
7.46 pm: The northeastern girls working as stewards at Café Turtle are crossing Subramania Bharti Marg. Their shift hours have ended and now they are walking to Sujan Singh Park bus stop where they will wait for the Munirika-bound bus — 623.
7.55 pm: The crowd is becoming thin. Parking attendants are breathing easy. Foreign magazine stall is downing shutter. A few girls are waving at autowallas outside. But autos are not stopping.
8 pm: Happy hour at Blanco ends.
8.15 pm: It’s like midnight. And it’s chilly.
8.35 pm: The middle lane has become empty. There’s just a lone couple lingering outside Chicago Pizza stall (big slices, really fast).
8.47 pm: Not all have gone home. A few are still in the market. Inside expensive restaurants. Blanco. Chonas. Choco la. A few are also in the not-so-expensive eateries. Like Sidewok, Subway and, yes, McDonald’s. However, the crowd has thinned outside Khan Chacha ke Kebab.
8.58 pm: There’s no customer in Subway’s boxy outlet.
9.15 pm: The market is looking as spooky as an empty dance club.
9.30 pm: Café Turtle calls off the day. Downstairs, Full Circle bookstore, it’s sister concern, too, follow suit.
9.35 pm: Hardly any soul. Car park is empty, almost. Khan Market is no longer feeling like home. The day has ended. But tomorrow will be a new day. Happy new year.