When we arrived at the market we could not find a place to park the car. So we waited patiently for about ten minutes before someone vacated a parking space and we moved in.
Coming to the market just before a festive season was not a pleasant experience. The whole town seemed to be there. Everyone had things to buy. So the prices of things shot up. Worst of all, we had to struggle to get these things.
So we made our way carefully through the various sections buying vegetables, meat, fish, noodles, spices and other food stuffs. We had wanted to buy some prawns too but they were all sold out, despite their sky-high price.
The bags got heavier and heavier. The crowd got thicker and thicker. The noise and heat was overwhelming. As we had nearly done all the shopping, I told my mother that I would wait for her at the car. I could not stand being among hundreds of aggressive shoppers anymore.
I lugged the bags wearily to the car and breathed a sigh of relief when I reached it. The air smelled sweet and cool. I was glad to be outside.
Fifteen minutes later my mother emerged from the market. She looked exhausted. We put the groceries in the boot, got into the car and drove off with the air-conditioner at full blast.
A market place is the place spread out in a specific area, where a variety of goods of daily requirements are available for purchase by customers. There are an umpteen number of markets all they catering to the daily requirements of the public, and they are placed close to residential areas for the convenience of the customers.
I had heard a lot about a market called Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi but had never seen it. Once this year, in the month of October, on the occasion of my sister's marriage, when my mother was going to Chandni Chowk for shopping I insisted that I would also like to accompany her. My mother and even my sister tried their best to dissuade me from going but, I insisted.
They even told me that there would be too much crowd and that a child of my size may get suffocated there. However, I heard none of their comments and pleas but insisted on accompanying them. We started on our journey from Vasant Kunj and even when we were just half way through, my patience gave way as, the distance was forbidding.
Nothing could be done in the matter now, and I had to keep quiet as, I had myself put the suggestion and locked a noose round my neck. After about one and a half hours on the road we finally reached the much talked of market - Chandni Chowk - the biggest and oldest market of Delhi.
What I saw in this market in the first place was a sea of men rushing up and down everywhere on all the roads. It appeared as though all the people were just rushing to some very important mission to and fro on the roads. The sight of the crowd the one of the like I had never seen before just frightened me out of my wits, and, I already started
wondering why I opted to come here. As we proceeded towards the shops yes, I was really impressed. There, all, yes all items of consumer needs could be seen in plenty but all the shops were just too crowded.
Since we had gone there for shopping for my sister marriage we also had to wade through the crowd and do our work. First, we went to a jewelry shop. The sight of that long road full of jeweler shops on both sides of the road took me by surprise.
I had never imagined that, such an expensive item like jewelry was also available in dozens of shops and, each shop was crowded with customers. I came to know that, this road dotted with shops of jewelry was called Dariba Kalan, and all the shops here were decades old.
Here we sat for almost an hour in the shop where Mummy had ordered some items and thus for a while, got some relief from the pushing and jostling on the crowded roads.
After our work here, I was once again a bit fresh and now we moved to saree shops where we had to make bulk purchases for my sister and gifting to friends and relatives.
Oh my God what a shock awaited me here. So many narrow lanes were emerging from the main road and leading to huge saree shops with stocks of thousands of sarees. Sarees of golden work called zari were just glittering in those tiny shops. Here in these lanes I think we spent nearly three hours peeping into one shop and then another, and making selections of sarees.
This part of the market was not even visible from the main road but, it appeared to be an important business centre having brisk sales. I was absolutely dazed to see huge stocks piled up in each of these tiny shops. All salesmen in each and every shop were busy catching customers.
I noticed that, most women would come to a shop, see a few sarees and just go away, while some others were making purchases of thousands of
rupees. The sale was rather brisk considering that the items bought were far too expensive. Seeing the fast movement of customers in and out of the shops, I asked one of the shopkeepers if this was the situation prevailing every day.
To this, the reply was the obvious one that, these days the sale is more than usual because this period of the year was the marriage season, and the festival season is also round the corner. This reasoning did convince me to some extent but I still continued to wonder how much crowd there could be daily.
This I thought because I am told that this market is forever congested, all the year round, only becoming unmanageably crowded on occasions like marriages and festivals.
After having bought a lot of sarees, I don't know how many, we finally got up from the shop to get out - and believe me, we forget our way out, and got lost in those tiny congested lanes and by-lanes. Finally we had to ask someone to guide us to the main road.
Here on the main road we again saw a row of big shops of all kinds of items, and all full to the brim. Next we were told that, there are several other markets branching out from this main road of Chandi Chowk. All these other roads specialise in special items and are wholesale dealers.
The entire lot of these markets branching off from the main road of Chandni Chowk is all together called Chandi Chowk. Special shops for clothes, stationery, grains etc. are offshoots of this main road. Since we had no other work, now we went out to the car, which again was a long walk through a crowd.
This visit to Chandni Chowk has been my first experience. The wading slowly through thick crowds, the shops full of items of daily consumption, the different markets for different items did impress me. Though it was a tiring day but a wonderful shopping experience. This was my most interesting visit to a market of repute in Delhi.