Around two weeks ago, S and I went to Chandni Chowk so I could shop for some silver jewellery. Now if you know my friend S you will be very surprised that he came with me. There was a point in his life when S owned just two pairs of Kurta Pyjama. I convinced him with the argument that there is always a first time and he could impress his amrikan girlfriend when she is back in India about his knowledge of silver jewellery.
Now, shopping in Chandni Chowk is different shopping in South Delhi. We stopped at a nimbu pani wala and on offer was Kashmiri Masala nimbu. I asked for some. The shopkeeper takes one look at me and tells S in chaste urdu that I won't be able to handle it due to the masala. Each shop we went, S did a whole drama about his superior Urdu skills and my lack of comprehension of the language ("Ye south se hain", he would say dismissively to the shopkeeper waving his hand) and I was treated with respect (no bargaining though, one kajal eyed, Kufi wearing shopekeeper told me). In one of the shops, the shopkeeper is having a long chat and pays no attention to me and S who are being served by the shop assistant. In walks an old gentleman who recites a Shair to the shop keeper. I feel like I am transported to a different world - where time was not money and poetry was not distraction.
Should go to Chandni Chowk to remind myself once in a while that Dilli is not to be equated to South Delhi.
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