While the entire nation is clamouring to bring the level of inflation down, a visit to the Sunday market (originally called Chor Bazaar, for it reputedly sold only stolen goods once) near Lal Quila is sure to give you a lease of fresh energy and optimism.
You will sneer at the ‘international research reports’ which tout Delhi as one of the 10 most expensive cities worldwide. Expensive as a word is not likely to knock on your memory as you stroll around the market which comes to life weekly.
As you move towards Chandni Chowk from Darya Ganj, the market emerges outside the old Meena Bazaar along the wall of Subhash Park. Amidst the hustle-bustle of men, women and youngsters jostling past, you will find a never-ending queue of vendors selling shoes, jeans, cricket kits, blazers, T-shirts, deos, sports goods, perfumes and more.
Burly women selling clothes can be seen despising customers asking them for a
The price – Rs 250 for a pair of jeans (pre-bargain). So, if you don’t want to earn a vendor’s wrath, never try either of the two things – one, to negotiate unreasonably. Two, to point flaws in the products. The items sold are not qualitative by any standards. If they were, they would have been sold in a showroom and vendors can be heard conceding it themselves.
However, there are several imported products sold here. A set of six Corona Extra and Heineken glasses along with a glass jug can be bought for a mere Rs 50. To reinforce that the glasses sold are unbreakable, the vendors smash them on wooden tables before selling them. But if you dare to try the same, you are likely to get flak from the vendor.
As you move further, you will find diverse items. Everything from a screw driver to a pen drive is available. A branded deodorant which costs Rs 120 in market is sold at half the price while a trolley bag is available for just Rs 650 (pre-bargaining price). Clothes which are ubiquitous in this snake-sized market can be bought for a steal, literally!
A policeman posted in the market told Metrolife that some of the advocates in High Court and Supreme Court buy their white shirts from here. “When a shirt is available for Rs 75-80 which otherwise would cost you Rs 800, why would not people come here?” asks Prasad Sharma helpfully.
People come here in droves. If you find space to walk uninterruptedly on any of the lanes then you are lucky.
What makes the traffic situation worse is that some bike and car drivers drive through the narrow lane meant only for pedestrians. Besides this, one must be very careful while walking as one may trip on the potholed lanes.
Trudging through the market is the only ‘price’ you pay to find cheap products as the ‘monetary’ price is barely a burden. Even labourers can be seen buying Malaysian chocolates – originally priced at Rs 140 (for a bar) pikko and loretta for their kids at a dirt cheap price of Rs 30-40.
Some regulars, including the policemen posted in the vicinity, believe that the clothes sold in the market are second-hand and were discarded by first-users after using them only once. “That is the only way one can sell clothes so cheap as their prices are less than even the raw material cost,” says Prasad Sharma*, a head constable.