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