City Walk – Playing Footsie at Sunday Book Bazaar, Daryaganj
Leaping past the secondhands.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s not Chandni Chowk. Not Mehrauli Archaeological Complex. No, not even Lodhi Gardens.
It’s the Sunday Book Bazaar in Daryaganj. This mile-long pavement market for secondhand books is the best place for a happy walk in Delhi. I have been walking here for ten years and every Sunday I get at least one book, which alone is worth my whole life.
This Sunday, too, was no different. I got a The Modern Library hardbound titled John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley: Complete Poetical Works. It has yellowing pages and the cover has a strange minty smell.
Even the trash gets elevated in Daryaganj. The 1940 edition of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind had its opening page inscribed in a most beautiful handwriting from some Joan to some… well, Margaret.
My Jane Austen eyes also rested upon the tantalizingly titled paperback Mrs Darcy’s Dilemma.
There was also a horror sight: The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Hitler’s Mein Kampf lay together.
The Sunday Bazaar starts from Delite Cinema on Asaf Ali Road and ends at the Jama Masjid traffic light on Netaji Subhash Marg.
End the excursion in style with an expensive lunch at Chor Bizarre, the Kashmiri restaurant in Hotel Broadway. (The walk will also take you past Cafe Coffee Day and McDonald’s outlets, the landmark Moti Mahal restaurant and a kebab shop).
And while you hunt for those books that you never knew existed but which you were looking for all your life, keep an eye for lawyer Krishna Kumar (see last photo below). He is a Book Bazaar legend. The man has been walking in the Sunday Bazaar since—as he puts it—“Donkey’s years”. The walk is complete only after a Selfie with him.
Walking for books
18. (Krishna Kumar)