In the last five years, Lajpat Nagar market has emerged as Delhi’s new go-to market for music instruments. Opposite the Defence Colony flyover, and into Lajpat Nagar part I, a by-lane on the left leads to a street. Seemingly innocuous at first glance, this street is a hub of music shops.
Evidence of the street’s musical air appear, by and by: curly-haired, tattooed boys in Pink Floyd or Beatles T-shirts disappear into shops humming and headbanging; flower children look-alikes move about, while a man on a staircase plays his guitar as he waits for his shop to be swept clean.
The five music instrument shops in Lajpat Nagar are a stiff competition to each other and make the musical economy, which is also a music lover’s popular hangout. Lakshman Parsuram, a software developer, who plays a guitar, says, “I have to keep coming here quite often to buy strings, cleaners and to just browse through their new stuff.”
The shops — Bina Enterprises, On Stage, New Bharat Music House, Rangarsons Music Depot and a little further away in a basement in Lajpat Nagar II, the Furtados Music Store — have managed to surpass the well-established music instrument markets in Panchkuian road and Daryaganj, both in terms of variety and pricing.
Musical instruments such as guitar, sitar, violin, harmonium, keyboard, drum, dholak and half a dozen types of flutes, including the snake charmers’ been, and many more, are available in these shops. Lakshman Parsuram, a software developer, who plays the guitar, says, “I have to keep coming here quite often to buy strings, cleaners and to just browse through their new stuff.”
Kukubh Megwal, member of the music band Mendin Iris, swears by On Stage. However, for the Guillotine band member Karan Nambiar, loyalties lie with Furtados. “All their stuff comes from Mumbai. And, it has better service and better equipment,” he says.
The instruments are aesthetically arranged in the shops — some also stock books on music — some are covered with posters. The managers are an excited lot when it come to talking about music. Hence, the regular clients drop in for after-sale services and have the odd chat about music.
These shops also cater to many international clients. Bina Enterprises has at least 30% foreign clientele. “Our clients are usually spiritual groups looking for Indian instruments. Then, there are lots of expats who come for guitars,” says Daljeet Singh of Bina Enterprises.
The market is also dotted with many street food joints that range from the chaat wallahs, kathi roll stalls, Chinese food vans to chuski vendors. Fast food joint Nirula’s is also very popular here. Its slurpy Hot Chocolate Fudge (R80 for a single scoop) and the Big Boy Burger (R90) are a must-eat.