Photo Essay – Khan Market After Dark
When life fizzles out of Delhi’s most uppity joint.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
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, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, inside Dayal Opticals. Rahul Gandhi having a brownie at Barista. Wheeler-dealer Amar Singh picking DVDs at Mercury Audio and Video. Author Manju Kapur browsing at Bahrisons Booksellers. Singer Shubha Mudgal walking hand-in-hand with her husband. B-grade Bollywood actor Shawar Ali wandering by himself.
7.30 pm: Inside Bahrisons booksellers. Someone shuts 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 Munirika-bound 623.
7.55 pm: The crowd is becoming thin. Parking attendants are breathing easy. Foreign magazine stall is closing off. A few girls are waving off to auto-wallas outside Gate no. 1. But autos are not stopping.
8 pm: Happy hour at Blanco ends.
8.15 pm: It’s like midnight. And in the winter it’s chilly.
8.35 pm: The middle lane has emptied out of people. 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 here. Inside expensive restaurants. Blanco. Chonas. Choco la. A few are also in 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: Khan Market is no longer feeling like home.
Bahrisons preparing for the night
Happy Hour ends
No soul here
A quiet meal
Closing time at Full Circle
Mayank, this essay on Khan Market coupled with some amazing pictures is simply brilliant, or should I say a remarkably extraordinary account of a winter evening in Delhi.>>Kudos to you.>>I had once accused you of Stereotypes, remember my long comments that you turned into a Blog Post. >>But after reading this essay, I’ve forgiven you (really) for that. (This calls for Kebabs at Khan Chachas)>>All I’d like to say is, what Suketu Mehta did for Mumbai with his novel “Maximum City”, you are doing for Delhi.>>I hope you write the Great Delhi Novel soon, something which all us Delhiites are waiting for decades. >>I’m sure theres no other Delhiite left who can do it as Great as you.>>And yes, I’m sorry if you were hurt by my long comments for your incomplete view of Delhi & Stereotyping of Muslims.>>Cheers Mate.
P.S: – I’m waiting for your Photo Essays on New Friends Colony Market & Chanakyapuri.
i dnt find anything xtra ordinary in this post.. many of mayanks’s post are much much better then this.. >>And sushant dont worry our gud old Mayank Austen Soofi will come up with one of his another steriotypic blog…very soon…just wait and watch 🙂
Spent last winter on and off in Delhi..and this really brings back memories. Its beautiful taking a walk in Khan market in the winter evening.
I remember seeing this written on the wall of a building while exiting khan market – >“Khan Market -Only rich Indians and foreigners allowed”>>Does Khan market represent an economical divide of our city?DO you have to be rich/preferably South delhiite to gain acceptance in that area. >>PS
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