It was a 'golden' period that they wish had never ended.
While Anna Hazare and thousands of his supporters protested day-in and day-out at Ramlila Maidan for 13 days, vendors and owners of various business establishments nearby were thanking their stars.
Pan shop owner Abdul Qayum (52) never had it so good. His average income of Rs 3,000 per day had jumped to a whopping Rs 19,000 daily, all thanks to the anti-graft movement happening right next to his make-shift stall.
"This was the first time my business boomed so much. I've seen a lot of rallies in this ground but none matched the magnitude of this one. Now that the agitation has been called off, I am back to square one. Now the same old troubles of making ends meet stares at me," Qayum said.
His is not an isolated case. A lot of hawkers — food stall owners, chaiwallahs, pan wallahs - are facing the pinch of a slowdown in their businesses.
A lot of restaurants along Asaf Ali Road near Ramlila Maidan witnessed a surge in their businesses as thousands who flocked the ground eventually paid them a visit.
“We witnessed a 40% boost in sales as people poured in throughout the day. Business was healthy, thanks to Anna Hazare," said Syed raza, manager of Zaika restaurant in Daryaganj, a kilometre away from Ramlila Maidan.
But now life is back to normal on the entire stretch from Delhi Gate to Asaf Ali Road. And some people like autorickshaw driver Mohammed Idrish is glad about it.
"Work was very slow due to the traffic restrictions. I suffered huge losses everyday through this period compared to any normal day. Most of us who belong to Old Delhi started plying on other stretches but even that backfired as road were blocks everywhere," said Idrish.
But his loss meant a huge gain for many rickshawpullers of the area.
"The entire stretch in front of the Ramlila Maidan and the Delhi Gate stretch was partially closed for traffic. Only rickshaws were allowed to ply. I ferried people who wanted to go on the main road and made around Rs 2,000 every day. I wish the protest had continued for a few more days," said Ramesh Kumar, a rickshaw puller.
Fast ends, feast ends
For thirteen days Girja Yadav cooked the best of food for her family of six. The street vendor from Madangir village in south Delhi was earning Rs 1,200, up from the Rs 150 she earned daily before that.
"Before this, we used to sell junk jewellery and balloons at India Gate. Suddenly, Gandhi caps hit markets and we started selling it," she said. "Never before had people bought things from us without bargaining. During the Anna protest, I sold a Rs 90 t-shirt for Rs 300. It was like a big mela."
Across the Capital thousands of street vendors sensed the lucrative business opportunity early and left their usual work to sell tricolors and Anna merchandise. The painters who charged Rs 50 for painting a small tricolor on individual faces are back outside Delhi Haat, sketching caricatures for little kids.
Fancy shops in Sadar Bazaar, which supplied merchandise like Anna caps, badges and t- shirts and tricolors in Delhi, also wore a deserted look on Monday. "Barring election times, after Independence Day we don't get many customers but this time the main season started on August 16," said Rajiv Chhabra, a flag manufacturer in Sadar Bazaar.