Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the Nizamuddin East Market

I took a little walk with my camera today while the kids were in school. Thought I'd show you some of my daily sights... I stopped by one of the many ironing shops on my way to the market. This fellow is only about a block from where we live. Most of these these are open-air stalls. They are covered by a tarp "roof" if it's raining. These professionals iron the same way people pressed clothing 200 years ago. Hot wood-coals are placed inside a heavy-cast clothes iron. Of course there are no temperature settings so you need to be careful giving these folks your delicates or any many-made fabrics. In the past, Lesa and I both have had parts of clothing melted from the heat these irons put out!
You can get almost all of your daily shopping needs met in Nizamuddin. The only exceptions to this are probably music, electronics and good paper products. But there are other great markets nearby for these sorts of items. One of the shops I frequent is run by Rajesh. He supplies me with bottled water, dry food goods, and even fresh chapattis to order. Sort of the 7-Eleven of Nizamuddin, Rajesh's store is open long hours each day.
Just down the street is my vegetable-fruit man. He's always there on his corner. He sets up around 8am every morning and is still selling until 8 or 9 pm most evenings. Everything is fresh and most of what he sells is grown in India. Alas, the mango season has ended, but nice apples and pears from Kashmir are starting to be available.
Another stop I make about every other day is to the "Mother Dairy" store. My Dood Walla is almost always in good spirits, even though his days are long ones. He's open from about 5am until around 8pm (although he always takes a lunch break from 2-4pm). His shop sells everything from milk and Dahi (yogurt), to ice cream and butter. It's all fresh and very inexpensive.
The marketplace includes a Chemist (Pharmacy), Hair Salons, a cafe-bakery that also sells new books, a nice clothing store and even a small toy shop. All of this is only within two blocks of our flat. These shops deliver to your home, or you can purchase items like fruits, vegetables and even brushes and brooms from cart vendors that travel the quaint streets and alleys of Nizamuddin East each day!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lesa and Jonathan,

Joseph is coming to India on 10/25/10. He is going to Bangalore in the southern part. I wish he was nearer to yall. The market looks beautiful. the vegetables are so colorful. We ate at Mandolas tonight. I always think of yall, and wait for yall.

HouseBoy said...

Joseph will have a great time. Have him contact us if he needs any help/has any questions!

Biraj said...

Hi there:
I am delighted that Nizamuddin East is appreciated in the way that you do. A former resident of Jaipur Estate I lived there for 31 years or thereabouts. And to this day Nizamuddin East and it's incredible environs are unequaled indelibly imprinted in my memory and oh what history!! And to think it was originally a "colony" for refugees coming from Pakistan after partition.

The one memory that gets me laughing the most is when my teenage friends and I used to play hide and seek (with the *whole* of Nizamuddin East as our hiding place). One time when I was "it" (the seeker) I searched for my friends for about 45 minutes or so and then just went home :-))

The next day all my friends came to my house and complained to my mom. She asked them if they had checked with her before they made me "it". When they said they hadn't she told them they need to deal with me directly. Shortly after that she chased me out of the house to be confronted by my friends.

In those days there used to be this huge ancient wooden door (with a small door in it) on the Niz. East side of Humayun's Tomb (facing "A block" for the most part). This door was the entrance to the Humayun's Tomb nursery, and also gave access to the tomb premises during the early hours of the morning when Niz. residents went for their early morning walks. But during the rest of the day this gigantic door used to be closed. But me and my friends being small we would sneak in from UNDER this incredibly gigantic door and go into Humayun's tomb. The entry those days was free. But we didn't want to walk all the way to the Arab ki Sarai entrance so used the underside of this door as a shortcut.

I have a zillion beautiful memories of Nizamuddin East and living there through childhood to adulthood.

Thank you for your blog. It does my heart good to see Nizamuddin celebrated.



HouseBoy said...

The big wooden gate is still there to access the Humayan Tomb nursery, but there is now a separate resident entrance for morning walkers. A pass costs Rs75 for the year. My wife and I each have one.
Although I have an obvious bias, Nizamuddin East is definitely one of the best neighborhoods to live here in New Delhi. For its history, its location, the huge shade trees and Nizamuddin East's tidy, quiet beauty.
Thanks for sharing your memories and for reading the blog.