>Street shopping on Quadrant Road


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 !

Serious business

 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.

Metal  vessels to set kitchens a sparkle ! 

 Even though there are permanent structures on either side of the street, most business is conducted on the non-existent pavement. These lovely aluminium vessels above were laid out neatly in a row on cloth, alongside their stainless steel counterparts .This is the best place to buy vessels in bulk in case you are setting up home or giving your kitchen a spring cleaning. Most are sold by weight in the shops, but on the pavement, you can bargain.

Zari borders for dupattas and kurtas on a cart

Like I said, anything and everything is available here. These zari borders are a precursor to all the shine and glitter you will get to see when you reach the `Gujjri’ on Nala Road. It’s THE place to go for lace, sequins, buttons and opulent fabric in eyepopping hues with enough gold and glitter to dazzle the light out of your own eyes. Be prepared to jostle for space with buxom burkha clad ladies and their entourages before you can begin the bargaining process in earnest.

Metal by the kilo

I love looking at these beautiful big metal vessels and weaving stories around what they might eventually contain. Maybe hot water drawn in a traditional home for a soothing bath at the end of the day, or even  simmering biriyani being cooked slowly over flaming coal for a wedding or community feast.  Vessels are so similar to human relationships. They start out empty and allow us to take out of them only what we have put in.


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.

Still showing the latest hits..of 20 years ago.

Once the shopping is done, if you have energy left or courage, head into Renuka Theatre on Seppings Road and catch a film that you might have missed when you were in your diapers. Last year, it was showing ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’.  For more than 3 months.

This 5″  mixie is perfect for little girls who want to stir up a storm! 

One comment

  1. >I once worked with an ad agency that had a retail wing. Being a small agency then, was not just the client servicing (postmaster) babe, but also had to creatively execute the retail plans across showrooms. And Shvajinagar was the only place where I found ALL the stuff I was looking for. Cane baskets, coloured bottles, glassware…anything and just about everything, just the way you describe it. Loved reading this space.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: