A visit to Daryaganj Sunday Book Market | Street Diaries

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Before we start, I have to say something. I am so disappointed with myself regarding the pictures of this post. I could have done so much better what with the Old Delhi backdrop, huge, HUGE piles of books all around. Believe me when I say this, this market is huge as hell!

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Yes, that’s what the first thing that hits you when you reach here. Let’s not count the obvious culture shift that you feel from the rest of Delhi.

I know it sounds annoying to hear it repeatedly, but trust me, it is just not possible to explain in words how big this market is!

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My friend and I got down at the ‘New Delhi Railway station’ metro station and took an auto for the market. We told the auto guy a point to drop us off, but the humongous piles of books began much before that point. We were like, should we get down mid-way or the best is yet to come?

As far as I am concerned, the entire market is the bomb. I am not aware of any best stalls or corners as such. You will find treasures and prices that might make you gasp. I got a lovely kids’ hard bound book for like 40 INR!! That’s less than a dollar!

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There is this one big stationery shop that has all sorts of cool notebooks for really cheap prices. Most of the things here are sold by weight. You should definitely go to this shop for notebooks and some other knick-knacks. If you only want to visit this shop and not the entire market, ask anyone about it once you reach the main lane of Daryaganj book market.

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If you have heard about Delhi’s street shopping for clothes all your life, this market is that same thing but for books.

Bargain shamelessly.

Don’t show that you were dying to own a copy of that book you chanced upon.

Don’t show that you were dying to own the edition that you chanced upon.

The more you walk, the more your hunger to walk further will increase. Dress comfortably for that. Carry water.

That's my haul!

That’s my haul!

I see no reason why you shouldn’t head here the coming weekend.

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Look at that Mughal-art inspired book, this book was like a magnet.

[Plus, one of my favorite Instagram-ers, India Pictures, is having an Instagram meet in Old Delhi on the 19th of April. It starts at 6 am though 😛 ].

Sagan ke lifafe (envelopes), anyone?

Sagan ke lifafe (envelopes), anyone?

Meeting William Dalrymple | A Visit to ‘Serendipity Delhi’

I am having an ‘Oh-my-God-I-am-so-star-struck’ moment here. 🙂

I am not sure how I came across this place called ‘Serendipity Delhi‘ on Instagram but I was happy with what I saw. It’s a concept store for home decor and apparel set in a refurbished haveli in Chattarpur, Delhi, India.

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And soon after I started following them, they posted a picture about them hosting a story telling event by William Dalrymple. Wait. What? What did I just read? I have to go here (even though I have read only one of his works but I know I want to meet him in person).

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So, it was a fund-raiser for an Animal Welfare NGO – All Creatures Great and Small where William Dalrymple was going to do a book reading session of his book ‘Return of a King‘ along with a Ghazal performance by Vidya Rao. As you might have guessed, I went simply because it was a great chance to see him in person. Would it be okay if I do a dissection of my star struck moment? Either way, I really, really want to do it.

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When we reached there, the event hadn’t started and I assumed that the author mustn’t have reached. Some people were having tea in the balcony and I started to look around. After a few minutes, I see some people shifting in the balcony and I realize that he is also sitting there in the balcony. Shock. Wow. I kept looking wide-eyed when it was about time to go to the terrace where the event was to be held. He stood and started walking towards the staircase. I was in the way. Still looking wide-eyed with a smile.

‘Hi’, he says.

‘Hi Sir! Big fan’, I say. We shake hands. I get a bit out-of-the-way to let him and others reach the staircase. My best friend signals me to start for the staircase myself. Still smiling.

We go upstairs and get seated. Since the event was delayed, we assumed that we won’t be able to stick around for the entire do. My best friend tells me that I won’t get a proper time later to get autograph and all. I should do it now because everything is chilled out and it’s the best time. That totally was the best time. No rush and I would get a huge time span to get the autograph and a photo as the event was yet to begin. It was a little embarrassing though because no one else was doing it but he pushed me enough and I realized I should gather some courage now. Off I went and greeted him and his wife and took an autograph and a selfie too. 😛 He even asked me about what I do and stuff. His wife, by the way, the painter Olivia Fraser, is a super sweet person and she was a breath of fresh air. Later, I realized that I was so nervous, I couldn’t comprehend most of the things he said. And he did say quite a lot of things. 😦

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After I came back to where I was sitting, everyone started gathering around him for autographs. Yes, my best friend rocks. He always has the best ideas!

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As you can see from the pictures, the haveli, Serendipity, is quite a beauty. You may want to check it out someday, if it appeals from the pictures. Take care of one thing though. It’s tucked away in a very remote area in Chattarpur and you should not go alone at any cost. I think the only way to reach here is through your own conveyance as I couldn’t spot any autos around even though it’s quite near to the Chattarpur metro station distance-wise.

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I have one major regret. Both I and the author were dressed appropriately for the theme of the book, Afghan history, he in a black Pathani suit and I in a black anarkali with wide-legged pants (like Pakistani Shararas). I don’t know if this was all a coincidence but it’s just sad that I did not get a full picture clicked. I know I am getting judged now for being so shallow! 😛

Anyway, such is life. 🙂

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6 most annoying types of people in metro | Friday’s List

20141212_2156001 I know that none of you ever imagined Friday’s List as this, a post about rants or annoying people. 😀 It must have been imagined as a value addition kind of post, where you either add things to your bucket lists or get to know about few tips/tricks. But here it is, a Friday’s List about people I hate in the metro! 😀

  1. The queue breakers: Well, they are at number 1 for a reason. I hate them the most. So much so that if it wasn’t ethically & lawfully wrong, I would have loved dragging them on the floor and beating the f*ck out of them. I know it sounds outrageous but that’s how badly I hate them. There are two kinds, the ones who are unabashed, one woman actually told me this, “I don’t care if you call me shameless, I am okay being shameless than wait in the queue”, and the ones who try to act all innocent – “oh! I didn’t realize there’s a queue!” Oh my God. I wish I could slap you.
  2. The ‘gluesomes’: These are the ones who will come and stick to you even if there was enough space for a hundred people! I mean wow!
  3. The weight-putters: These are an improved version of point 2. They will not only stick to you, but also make sure that the weight of either their back or thighs or something is on you. Like, take your own support people.
  4. The high maintenance people: These are the ones who will act all sophisticated and will roll their eyes if someone asks them to accommodate them on the seat. Now, I know most of you will disagree with me and say that if a seat is meant for 7 people, why would I want to stuff 9 people in there. Here’s my logic – In a country overflowing with people, it’s better to seat as many people as possible even with a little discomfort to each of them, so that maximum possible people are seated and the ones standing are also able to stand more comfortably. So, if it only takes a little bit of adjustment, it’s fine instead of rolling those eyes!
  5. The seat hunters: Of course, how can I forget these. These I mostly do not hate because they are borderline funny. It’s funny to look at their tactics to get a freaking seat. They will do anything and I mean anything to get a seat in the metro. They are super annoying for me in two cases majorly: 1) when they try to save a seat for someone else too, that really irritates me somehow, 2) when I am standing right in front of a seat and they try to push me so that they can stand there as the next claimant of the seat, this is when all hell breaks loose and I make it a point to not let these kinds win with their shitty, uncivilized ways.
  6. Women who act victimized all the freaking time: Why is this point the last? Because this entire post was written in a fun way but this point is actually serious and scary. I think most women really need to realize that they are responsible, equal citizens instead of victims of society’s burdens. True, we have a tougher life than men in a patriarchal society, we are more unsafe, all that is true but does the onus to change that lies on someone else? Why should men treat us as equals when we ourselves act like privileged citizens asking men to stand up from seats to let us sit? I have heard about teenage girls asking old people sitting on the reserved seats to get up. Really? Lately, thanks to metro, I have started feeling that women and men are getting divided into two groups where both the groups hate each other fervently. Being cautious is one thing, but every time someone’s elbow hits you in a super crowded metro, it isn’t eve-teasing ladies! If you start putting up fights without understanding the real situation, obviously men would start treating us as a separate group which they are supposed to stand against at any cost. Can we please act like strong individuals instead of victims?

That’s all for my rant. I am sure you would have some public transport experiences which can be shared. Can’t wait to hear more cringe-worthy accounts! 😀 Oh, and, good ones too. 🙂

My 4 top favorite Instagram accounts | Friday’s List

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After excitedly clicking photos for several future posts this past Sunday, I finally managed to do none of those posts till now and here I am, presenting the Friday’s List today on something totally out of the blue. I am not sure how many of you use Instagram but it wouldn’t hurt to know my favorite Instagram-ers because no matter what the medius, all hail content! 😀 So, here you go:

1. indiapictures

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It was so hard to narrow down on one picture from their account to share here. I LOVE their page – I don’t have enough words to describe how I feel about every image they post, marvelous is probably too understated a word for them.

2. SoDelhi

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Now I don’t follow any other Delhi guide kind of account on Instagram, so I have nothing to compare them to but I love their work, love how artfully they bring to table even the simplest of things and love how their love for Delhi shines through their account!

3. krsnamehta

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The designer and owner at India Circus, his personal account is a diary of everything Indian and everything else that he loves. I like the way he perceives things while clicking, I don’t know if he puts a lot of effort while clicking for Instagram or not but I like his vision from what it appears to be from the pictures.

4. melangeofmusings

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This is Sara’s account who blogs at ‘Melange of Musings’. A lifestyle blog by a girl, nothing that you haven’t heard of before, in fact you are reading one right now. However, Sara’s blog and her pictures on Instagram are unique in their own way. Her attention to detail is breathtaking and it is quite evident how painstakingly she works on making her blog posts thorough and, of course, the pictures speak for themselves.

That’s all, but before I end this post, I would like to mention that there are many Instagram accounts, probably better than the ones that I mentioned as far as artful photos are concerned but these 4 are the ones that fill me with excitement as soon as I come across a new picture by them. If you are big time into artful photos, you should definitely follow Instagram’s own official account where they keep sharing about fabulous Instagram accounts ranging from accounts dedicated to vintage cars to food architecture to sketching and doodles and what not. Then, of course, there are amazing street style photographers, not to mention the king of street style photography – the Sartorialist.

I’ll leave the rest to be explored by you. 🙂

Disclaimer: All pictures have been taken from the respective Instagram accounts. I claim no ownership.

Life Instagram-ed #13

First things first, I got honored with the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’ by Jen @ The Haute Mommy Handbook. So very happy that she thought of me for awarding this. 🙂

Now I don’t think anyone missed having Life Instagram-ed posts around, but I missed writing these. 😀 The reason you are seeing less of these and Street Style posts is that my phone has broken down and I used to use my phone camera. Today, I really wanted to do this, so I used my mom’s phone, used Insta through laptop, basically went at great lengths to get my Instagram feed here. Finally, here you go from what you last saw in Life Instagram-ed #12:

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1. What do you think this is? No guessing game, I can’t wait to tell you. It’s a fabric piece from Shanker Market, Connaught Place when I was roaming there with one of my best friends while she selected some fabric for her sister’s marriage and I drowned in the gorgeousness. If you are even a tiny bit into getting your clothes stitched, this market is a must visit place. Though let me warn you it’s not exactly cheap. Still, must visit!

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2. This is from the Gurpurab celebrations in the area where I live. It’s a Sikh festival for the birth of the first Guru. Notice how coordinated everyone looks cleaning the road ahead for their Holy Book to arrive. It’s funny how faith can bind or break us. 🙂

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3. From the same procession, you see the ‘Panj Pyare’. Honestly, I never knew about what they signify even though I have seen them/heard about them since childhood. Having used Google, here’s what they are: While I did know the literal translation ‘The 5 beloved ones’ (I know this much Punjabi), they represent the first five men who were initiated into the Khalsa (the emodiment of the Guru) in the Sikh ceremony of initiation by their 10th Guru.

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3. The Holy Book of the Sikhs – Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

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4. Aah, this. :’) This is that side head-gear that you usually see Muslim women wearing commonly known as ‘Passa’ or ‘Jhoomar’. I really wanted to have own since a long time. I think this one is so very pretty and is as not pricey either. I got this for INR 800. The only problem is that it is very heavy, so doesn’t stay put in my thin hair. I imagined myself looking beautiful when I wore this to a friend’s wedding recently, but it was coming off every 5 seconds due to my thin hair!!

If you live in Delhi and want to buy this, let me know and I’ll be happy to share the shop details.

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5. When you have Nachos but no dip and no inclination to make any, you gather whichever vegetables are there in the kitchen and preferably chopped already. 🙂

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6. This one is special. One of my good friends from the blogging world, Krupa from Ishtyle Awhile, sent these earrings as a gift when I won a fun quiz on her blog. This is the first time I have ever won in a contest like this, you know, and the personal note was a cherry on the cake!

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7. This one is really, really important. If you are into baking at all, you should definitely try this recipe of Garlic Pull-Apart Rolls. Trust me, if I can do this, anyone can because I always face issues while baking in our microwave. I cannot stress on how badly I want you to try this recipe for it’s easy, tasty and satiates the craving for baking breads to some extent. Please do make this! I have made this thrice, the first time following the exact recipe, the second time replacing all-purpose flour (maida) with wheat flour and the third time adding paneer bhurji (cottage cheese dish) as a filling. So if you have anything to ask when you try the original recipe, feel free to ask. 🙂 Only thing to keep in mind is that you must have a convection mode in your microwave for any baking and if you use gas cook-top for baking, then I won’t be able to suggest the tweaks for this recipe as I don’t know about that. [Bhakti, this is the recipe we talked about].

Pheww! I typed this post twice as I lost the draft. 😀 That’s pretty much it. 🙂

Take care & keep smiling 🙂

A happy new Year!

A very happy new Year to all of us 🙂 I hope the year 2015 brings lots of happiness for all of us. Here’s to bigger dreams, stronger will powers, happier times and living life to the fullest no matter what the challenge is. 🙂

My Facebook status currently reads ‘Ringing in the new year with a humble visit to Shahjahan’s Delhi when the world parties it all out in Lutyens’ Delhi (in the end, we did visit Shri Bangla Sahib in Lutyens’)’. For those who have no idea about what I am saying, basically I and my brother visited the Sam’s Cafe in Paharganj today evening which is in Old Delhi. Old Delhi was built during the Mughal era, so that’s why Shahjahan’s Delhi. Quite a choice for visiting on New Year but, oh well. Then we also visited Shri Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in Connaught Place. CP was designed by British architect Edwin Lutyens’ (just Google-d the full name) during the British rule, so areas designed by him are popularly known as Lutyens’ Delhi. The idea of this post came through a comment by Tatsat where he asked to talk about things we did on New Year. It’s good that he expected that I’ll be doing something happening. 😛

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Sam’s Cafe, Paharganj

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Shri Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, Connaught Place. So beautiful, I know!

PS: I just checked my annual report card at WordPress and it is a really, really fun thing to do. Check mine here and definitely check your too, you must have got an email notification about the same on your registered email by WordPress.

Have a very happy new Year everyone! 🙂