The first time I visited Chandni Chowk (Moonlight Square) in Old Delhi was more than 40 years ago in 1976 (picture to the right). I remember its vibrancy, the vivid colours, the energy, the diversity of smells, the complexity of everything that was there. It fascinated me. I got lost. I wandered. I explored back alleyways. I emerged, having felt something of the depth of Delhi; the ever living past in its present.
I had not been back until two days ago. Much had changed; little had changed. I was struck anew by the splendour of some of the old buildings; the mix of religions; the melting pot of cultures that was Old Delhi; the old wooden doors; the delicious food; the wonderful colours, especially of the saris; the dogs and cat; the pale skinned mannequins. I had to go there, just to feel, smell, hear, see and taste Old Delhi; a special treat was to eat at Parawthe Wala on Paranthe Wali Gali – it is most definitely worth searching out for every imaginable sort of paratha!
I was so spoilt by my friend and colleague Anushruti Vagrani from IIT Delhi, who took me back to Chandni Chowk, and had patience with me as I just absorbed anew everything about the market.