City Landmark – Button Shop, Near Chitli Qabar Chowk
Ali Baba’s treasure.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s just a hole-in-the wall shop, and pretty easy to button down.
Because, it’s all about buttons. Only buttons, a warehouse of thousands, many trimmed with laces and countless other decorations. Who could have imagined the super-humble buttons to enjoy such an immodest diversity?
This cute little shop in Old Delhi doesn’t have a name and doesn’t need it. When you gaze at the button shelves in their entirety, it’s like facing a friendly mob of many coloured eyes.
“Each button costs about 3 or 4 rupees,” says the friendly Guddu Bhai who along, with his equally friendly brother Faisal Bhai, manages the place; dealing with throngs of customers throughout their long working days with politeness and tact. The buttons are packed inside hundreds of white boxes, classified into convenient categories like kurta and shervani buttons, and so on.
Guddu Bhai is far too modest to boast about the thriving business, set up some 40 years ago by his father Zaheer. From the very start it has provided a memorable experience for button shoppers who fuss over these little things as though they alone matter in the world—at least for the moment.
The shop is open almost every day of the year from 11am to 10pm in Old Delhi’s historic Chitli Qabar Chowk bazaar. These days, however, it serves the festive shoppers till late into the midnight due to the ongoing Ramzan season. Visit it not only to shop for buttons but also to marvel at the local gentry passionately shopping for those buttons.
A rare landmark