City Hangout – Hog Market, Rajendra Place
Out of the way.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This unlikely place feels like an island, very far away from the Delhi of sleek shopping malls and markets.
Hog Market is indeed a getaway from nouveau modernity. With its uneven flooring and broken balustrades, it’s about as ramshackle as you’ll find.
Which is probably why quite a few folks are hanging out this lazy afternoon in this retreat in North Delhi’s Rajendra Place. Knowledgeable citizens do their outings right here, at this public plaza lined with a handful of sweet little establishments.
And while lacking a coffee house, there’s always Raj Narayan’s chai stall where a cheerful young man is trying to attract attention—for some reason—by repeatedly pouring piping hot tea from one pan to another. Rather like a waterfall in the ravines.
Otherwise, handfuls of folk are seated lazily on plastic chairs on the sprawling terrace surrounded by drab redbrick buildings, their walls studded with AC units. It all looks outrageously hideous, like a bad movie so bad it becomes entertaining. Nobody minds. That’s the appeal of it all.
Because Hog Market is retro, providing an escape from the known world. Worth an outing, maybe on some dreary afternoon when seeking release from daily concerns. But… why is it called ”Hog” Market? A shopkeeper explains that “this word, in the context of this market, means eating well.” While there, do try the delicious butter chicken at the Madhubani food stall, the oldest “landmark” dating from around 1987.
The discrete charms of a ramshackle plaza