It’s a ll about business in India, it sometimes seems like… What intrigues me most, is all the really small enterprises; shops virtually on the threshold of old and often dilapidated buildings. Old Delhi, my favourite spot in Delhi, is a labyrinth of lanes and a shopper’s delight…. if you like to browse or shop in congested, warm, chaotic and noisy surroundings. Old Delhi is a wholesale market where you’ll find everything under the sun, and be prepared to step back in history. This is far from the glittering malls and don’t expect toilets to freshen up.
The man below repairs jewellery and this is his shop; a tiny table. I noticed him in February and brought a bracelet for him to repair. While I was waiting, people came and went. Threading necklaces seemed to be a sought after service.
And talking about necklaces…. Old Delhi is an important place for gold and silver, but women don’t always need to wear “the real thing”. The guy below is making simple jewellery ready to be exported to… maybe your favourite clothes shop where you end up buying accessories matching your new dress – and that might be a necklace produced in these simple surroundings: A small room, dirty by our standards, hardly any furniture…
This guy is making bracelets for export to United Kingdom, we were told. They were three in his little workshop, it looked chaotic with materials lining absolutely every wall. And the floor wasn’t exactly empty either…. I was standing in the doorway, unable to leave, taking in the solemn atmosphere.
He showed me his bracelets, and I asked if I could buy some…. I got three samples for 100 rupees each; the golden one, a bluish and a red. They will always be special to me!
I’m not sure what this guy is doing in his little workshop. One of the many small enterprises of Old Delhi. Will there be a new generation for him to pass on his workshop?
Dying beads in the doorway. It’s amazing how this is done by one man on the threshold of his workshop. If not anything else, it’s very social…. I’m thinking; this could be done a hundred times more effectively in a big workshop or factory. But he has a buyer, he has a job and he obviously makes money!
I came upon these colorful, padded quilts in Mehrauli and never thought they were produced in the area itself. You would think a production would need space, but a glimpse into the modest rooms told me another story.
Raw cotton goes through the machine dating from – who knows when – and comes out refined and ready to be stuffed into the material in the room at the back. This guy is wearing protection, rarely seen in small enterprises like this….
And last but not least…. the chai wallah! Tea is sold everywhere in small cups. Chai is tea The Indian Way; with milk and sugar. The demand is enormous, the profit can be likewise even though chai doesn’t exactly rip you off… Tea stalls are everywhere, this particular enterprise might seem simple but I was told he was one of the most prosperous chai wallahs in Old Delhi!
It might not look too tempting… but once I tried it without sugar it felt right. But I don’t know if this is always a choice.
Thanks to Anju afrom Master-ji Ki Haveli and Shriti of Beyond Delhi who took me places….