City Landmark – Faizan’s Charging Point, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti
Stall we all need.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It can’t be the only one in the entire megapolis. There must be such stalls elsewhere too. May be you have to dander along the bazars more attentively. Even so, spotting it gives the thrill of a discovery.
First, a shout-out to the ingenuity of our citizen-entrepreneurs. Market streets teem with traders dealing in all sorts of innovative merchandise. A stall in Old Delhi consists of a future-telling “automatic machine” equipped with serious-looking ammeters. In Bhogal, hawkers shove through the weekly market crowd hawking tiny aquariums (with super-tiny fish sparkling in them). But very few street establishments can come close to the the genius of Faizan’s stall in central Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. Its unique, its rare, its originality so axiomatic.
Faizan’s stall sells something that has become as necessary to mankind as the oxygen. The banner tells it plainly: ‘Mobile charging point, all mobile charging here.’ The claim is solid except that iPhone users must carry their own charger to plug. The nitpicking apart, the stall is a street spectacle. The giant switchboard on the counter has the capacity to plug 19 mobiles simultaneously. “I have two more similar boards,” says the young man. The stall is named after him.
Faizan’s father, the elderly Muhammed Shamim, founded the landmark 30 years back as an ordinary chai stop. Early this year, the inventive son upgraded it to a chai-cum-charging point. It was his own idea, he says modestly, amusedly, explaining the business rationale. “People come from across India to visit our Basti’s many shrines and monuments … those musafir are often on the lookout to charge their phone.”
The area might have more shops offering this service, but only Faizan’s has such lawdeedaw airs about the phone charging. The eye-catching switchboard is strategically positioned amid earthen chai kulhars, chai pan, and chai kettle. There’s also a hill of tasty buns, each slithered generously with butter. Plus, jars crammed with badam wala biscuit, peanut biscuit, cake-rusk, paape, fen and mathhi.
The price to fully charge the phone at the stall is the same as of its chai, 10 rupees. The customer gets a token while depositing the mobile. It is a green plastic disk with gold lettering—‘Faizan mobile.’ Coffee too is available, but double the price of mobile charging. No time-wasting bargaining entertained.