MONEY CAN BUY HAPPINESS
By Alisha Sharma
All photos by the author. Copyright: Right Impact Media Inc.
“Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping” – Bo Derek. The intense euphoria that one feels while shopping bags full of goodies is a sensation like no other for women! While the grandiose and blooming malls seem like an obvious place to be, shopping at open-air markets bears its unique, casual charm.
The Janpath market akin to a flea-market is one such place that truly captivates the Indian metropolitan culture. This vivid shoppers’ paradise is situated in central Delhi, near the entrance to the bustling commercial area of Connaught Place and amasses a large faction of people every day. Formerly called as ‘Queen's Way' dring the British rule, the Janpath market is a historical place and was designed by Edward Lutyens in the pre-independent India.
Janpath market is equivalent to a shopping mecca for the swanky women looking for fine ethic dresses, trinket and fashion paraphernalia. It offers a large variety of products. From ethnic wear to the hip attire; there is something for everyone. One will be astounded by the variety of in-vogue clothes on display.
Small kiosks sell clothing like shirts, tops, skirts, shorts, dresses and traditional wear like ‘kurtis’. The best part about this market is that the prices are famously negotiable. A tip to the fashion forward shoppers - play a little hard to get and put your bargaining skills to test. One piece of clothing shouldn't cost more than 200 bucks. The quality suits the low set prices. “Being a college-goer, I am constantly in need to refurbish my wardrobe and Janpath market offers that at rock bottom prices. Also the variety never ceases to amaze me”, feels Devyani Sachdeva, an undergraduate student.
Strolling around the vibrant market, one will find a good selection of accessories; junk jewelery, silver ornaments, chunky neck pieces and earrings that you can have without feeling the pinch in your pocket. To compliment the clothes, there is a wide range of footwear like sandals, flip flops, jootis, kohlapuris, etc to choose from along with a variety of accessories - belts, scarves and handbags. While the market is primarily suited for women, it offers a very interesting range of cool and casual graphic T-shirts for boys. Walking vendors can be seen trying to convince and win over customers in an attempt to sell watches and sunglasses (always fake brands, so be careful). It's a paradise for the bibliophiles as the market offers books and novels at immensely discounted rates.
A popular tourist attraction, Janpath is one remarkable market on every tourist's must visit list. It's a common sight to see foreigners wandering around in the pursuit of absorbing the bright hues which very aptly reflect our Indian heritage. Janpath boasts of authentic and exclusive Indian handicrafts, which are hard to find in malls. Road vendors strive to lure customers in order to sell hand-embroidered cushion covers, bed-linen et al that showcases the intricate Indian craftsmanship beautifully.
The picturesque market admittedly garners a lot of attention and flattery. Alex Elliot, a 32-year-old voyager from Scotland says “I am left fascinated by the vivacity and the bright products on display and ended up buying souvenirs in bulk from the pleasant gift shops”. To cater to a considerable number of foreigners that come to this market, most vendors speak in fluent English and some even in French and Spanish which gives it an additional modernity and a marketing filip to an otherwise traditional market.
The staggering multifarious products are certainly startling. The long stretch of shops in Janpath market exhibits magnificent household interior decoration items not to be found anywhere else in Delhi. The exquisite curios promise the glory of your household. The collection includes adornments like lamps, artifacts, carpets, paintings and other antique items and its immitation which would otherwise cost a fortune if bought from malls. Janpath market is also reputable in selling authentic Kashmiri wares such as the pashmina shawls. One will have to haggle to get the best deal that is why this market is perfect for people who like to shop on a budget. The shopkeepers are courteous and deal well with the patrons.
Located just outside the flea market area, a few steps from the historical Imperial Hotel is the famous Tibetan market. Established by Tibetan refugees, this market offers cultural artifacts like brassware, wall hangings and Tibetan long horns to name a few. In comparison to Janpath, the items are costlier but the difference in the quality is significant. Shopping at Janpath is not an easy task and can be tiring and leave you with pangs of hunger. There are many street vendors and Indian stalls near the market selling delicious snacks and fast food for the soul. The most famous being 4-decades old Depaul’s coffee – famous for its cold coffee, shakes and reasonably priced snacks.
A true reflection of the bright and mishmash culture of Indian flea markets - Janpath is indeed, a sublime escape from the highly commercialized malls – a wonderful ‘utopia’ for both the local and foreign (women) shopaholics. No matter how much they shop here, it always leaves them coming back happily for more.