Tuesday, June 26, 2012

market mutations

Yet another glitzy jewelery store opened its doors in what was once our only neighborhood market. I am talking of Greater Kailash I's M block market. The shop was till about a month ago an upmarket apparel franchise. I wonder if the recently closed food mart will also metamorphose into yet another gold and diamond store. Quite frankly I have lost count of the number of jewelery shops in the market.

Each time a new shop opens I cannot but go back in time to the days when GK1 M block was your everyday market. It had meat shops, vegetable and fruit shops, grocery stores, chemists, toys and book stores and even a haberdasher. It also has two sweet shops with eating arrangements, one even having a juke box. It was really the place to go. I still remember how as college students one went there with friends to eat a dosa or some mouth watering chat, but above all to hear the Mohammad Rafi's English song entitled the: she I love is a beautiful.. One would play it on the juke box over and over and have a healthy laugh. The sweet shops also had public telephones! But beware to make calls you needed your bounty of 10 paise coins. The sweet shops were initially large with loads of seating space. With time they became smaller till they vanished alltogether to be replaced by you guessed right: jewelry shops!

The market also had a couple of cloth stores where you could buy bedsheets and towels or the much needed blouse piece to match your saree. It also had a quaint haberdasher. It was a shop crammed with boxes and more boxes. Come to think of it you could not quite figure out what it sold. But all you had to do is ask for what you needed and the kind but harried shop owner dived under a shelf or climbed a rickety ladder to get to a box and lo and behold you had exactly what you needed. It was the most comforting experience.

There were many grocery shops crammed with goods and you could find what you needed for that complicated cake you had decided to make. One of those shops was owned by two rather grumpy brothers but you bore with their moods as it was the only shop that kept fresh cream.

GK I M Block has also a great confectionery shop. I cannot count how many birthday cakes we ordered! Cakes in all shapes: trains and airports, Apu the Asian Games Mascot and not to forget the delicious desserts that were made. You just had to give them your serving dish. The confectionery closed one day. It became a store that had toys and games, stationery, birthday cards and also a section for pets.  The next mutation saw it going upmarket. Gone were the birthday cards and toys, now you had gift items and art objects still sprawled on 2 floors. A few months back the lower floor was closed to reopen as you guessed right: a jewelery store.

Along the way we have a had the boutique and designer days and the international franchise days. But each time a shop closed it mutates into a jewelry store. A unique Darwinian experience!

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