If you get down at New Taj Hotel, you’ll find Quadrant Road right in front of you. It’s a mad melee of people, honking cars, scooters and bicycles that teeter dangerously across the road. There are no pavements, because its a street market area. Everything you might need is out for the world to see. There are roadside vendors selling paraphanelia- slippers, crockery, food, lace, fake jewellery, aluminium pots and pans… you name it. What I really liked are the miniature steel utensils for children, wooden toy furniture, tiny plastic washing machines and Godrej cupboards that any collector of kitsch will die to own. The cupboard I bought even has mini plastic hangers inside, the size of little safety pins !
Quadrant Road is one of the most fascinating areas in Shivajinagar. There is a silent intensity to the way people do business here. None of the laidback chatter from the Russell Market area overflows into this space. Nor the scheming haggling from the alleys behind Commercial Street. People here mean business. You come, see and buy. Then you leave. Which means you are allowed to potter around, but you better have a clear idea as to what it is you intend to buy or have come here for to begin with. Time is money.
|A totally bling moment|
As you enter Quadrant Road, on the left is a row of two or three shops which sell everything you need for glitzy Muslim wedding ceremonies. From gauzy red and gold covering cloth for the fruit and sweet baskets that are carried to the bride’s house during the ` mehendi ‘ ceremony, to `paandaans ‘ ( betel nut boxes), stands for the Holy Quran, tray cloths and veils for the bride. Red and gold are auspicious colours across the length and breadth of India. There’s enough glitter here to cover the entire Indian sub-continent and maybe even extend a little over the border.
|Fried chips for tea time|
Finally, when you reach the Nala Road bridge and turn left, you will find thelas selling samosas, chura, chips and other oil friendly `items’. During Ramzaan, these thelas are overloaded with tasty treats for `Iftar’. Sevai of every quality is piled high, ready to be made into the much awaited `sheer khorma’ which also has a South Indian avatar called `payasam‘. On the right is the `Gujjri’ with shimmering fabric piled high. In case all the walking makes you hungry, there are a couple of tea-stalls or two. While hygiene standards may not be terribly high, the brave can always take a chance.
|The `fabric Gujjri ‘ off Seppings Road|
Wedding in the family ? Need a faux brocade blouse for that sari ? Need to buy fabric to make into cushions for your Indian themed living room ? The Gujjri has it all. Fabric in every hue and texture under the sun, just as long as it has gold in it, with a bit of a shine. At the far end of the street is New Market Road where you can go to find matching beads, brocade borders, sequins and buttons, to match the fabric you’ve just bought.