Ramzan diaries: Nocturnal wanderings in Jama Masjid

It’s something we decide to do every year, but often miss out on. This year, we pushed to catch the tail end of the Ramzan nocturnal revelries at the Jama Masjid in Shahjahanabad, Old Delhi. For Rahul, the food is the primary attraction; for me, it is the vibrant street life and an opportunity to wield my camera and simply see a life so unlike mine!

We went in a group of eight, some who had never been to the old city before. I savored the sights and smells, enjoyed the feeling of being lost in a crowd, the feeling of being welcomed by those who knew we were coming in from the outside to partake in their celebration. There is always an element of nostalgia for me, during these trips. Memories of early explorations of Shahjahanabad when I studied in SPA in the ’90s as well as memories of childhood trips to the older parts of Lucknow, which are similar in feel though not in architecture.

I feel, not merely discomfort, but a profound sense of sadness when Hindu friends make veiled derogatory references to Islam in the context of visits such as these. What we experienced last evening was the vibrant expression of a culture, that extends beyond the mere boundaries of religion. It is akin to being absorbed by the Kumbh or the Pushkar Mela. It is living heritage, one that is constantly under threat from change, yet one that is constantly evolving to absorb change.

The evening progressed. Food and plenty of laughter, random meanderings amid families shopping in a frenzy before Eid, watching a mobile phone thief being caught and mobbed and led away, children manning parantha stalls, youngsters looking for the best food deals, the homeless sleeping on the pavements oblivious of the ruckus all around, and then, a crazy taxi ride back home listening to the non-stop entertaining chatter of a Vijay Singh Rajput, our cabbie who had an opinion on everything and a certain way with words! An evening well spent indeed!

Sharing some images, so you can also take a sneek peek!

Gali mein jhaanka...peeped into a lane in Chawri bazar, walking from the Metro station to Jama Masjid

Gali mein jhaanka…peeped into a lane in Chawri bazar, walking from the Metro station to Jama Masjid

Chawri bazar, where once courtesans ruled, is today a hardware market and also a hub for paper and wedding cards!

Chawri bazar, where once courtesans ruled, is today a hardware market and also a hub for paper and wedding cards!

Selling paranthas, fooling around, posing....

Selling paranthas, fooling around, posing….

 

Such a lot of activity!

Such a lot of activity!

old and new

old and new

 

Sivayyan!

Sivayyan!

Wares on display

Wares on display

 

The sivaiyyan seller

The sivaiyyan seller

Bargain hunting

Bargain hunting

Yaari dosti...

Yaari dosti…

 

Food fiesta!

Food fiesta!

 

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About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on August 9, 2013, in Travel & Experiences and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Beautiful account and pictures of Ramzan. I condemn the derogatory statements made on the beautiful EID and some people still fail to understand the beauty of respecting each others’ culture:)

  2. Nice pictures Mukta. I like the colours and tones. They are exactly right for Chandni Chowk’s old world charm.
    Specially liked the picture of the dudes against an old old world.

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