Is there a wedding on the cards? Or is that a wedding card. Whatever. Any true-blue Delhi resident will tell you where to go if you want to get wedding cards printed. Whether your budget is Rs 2 per card or its Rs 200, the answer is Chawri Bazaar.
Situated inside the heart of Nai Sarak – the Capital’s stationery, printing and text books market — Chawri Bazaar has a life of its own. Its shops are open, albeit with shutters almost down, and with just a glimmer of light peeking in from below, proclaiming to the world at large: ‘men at work’.
The world of wedding cards can be startling: these shops offer cards depicting the most elaborate rituals of different religious communities. There is one – a seven-page card — which shows each of the saat pheras of the Hindu wedding, explaining what each phera is. Cost: A cool Rs 82 per invite.
“This market never closes because there is always someone who needs a batch of cards in a hurry. It is strange but true. On any given day, each of us gets at least one order from someone who needs the cards by the next evening,” says Badri Krishna Sharma.
That, however, was not the case with Sarit Lamba who came from as far as Rohini to pick up a sample of cards for his sister’s weddings. When Mahadev Kapoor asked what kind of cards he wanted, Lamba had no idea, so Kapoor took the tried and tested route. “What is your budget per card and how many will you need to send?” he enquired. When Lamba replied that he was willing to spend a maximum of Rs 18 per card and needed to send around 400, Kapoor started pulling out samples.
“It might be better to lower your budget slightly beta,” he says gently. His voice is too soft to be overheard by other customers in the shop. “You may find the number of people you want to send cards to increasing at the last minute. There are so many people outside Delhi who will not come but to whom you will need to send invites,” he tells Lamba.
“This is handmade paper...only Rs 15, this one is glazed art paper…from Taiwan.” Grateful for the advice, Lamba purchases about six samples to take home for family approval.