|Chandni Chowk (By Michael Kluckner)|
Out on the pavements, tradesmen too humble to have their own premises were now filling their appointed places: the ear cleaner with this pick and probe, the tooth cleaner with his bundles of neem twigs, the astrologer with his cards and his parrot, the quack with his lizards and bottles of murky aphrodisiac oils, the kabutarwallah with his fantails and fancy doves. Meanwhile, in their workshops off the main street frontage, away from the eyes of the passes-by, the jewellers were preparing their emeralds and moonstones, topaz and diamonds, rubies from Burma, spinels from Badakshan and lapis from the Hindu Kush. Shoemakers took their cured leather and began curling the toes of their juties on the last; the sword-makers began lighting their forges, the cloth merchants pulled out their bolts of fabric; the spice merchants smoothed into shape their orange-gold mountains of turmeric.
|Chunnamal Haveli today (taken from Wikipedia)|
Just as Chandni Chowk was waking up, 2 miles to the north, in the cantonment, the working day was already drawing to a close, and most of the soldierly duties were already completed. A bathe, a quick read of the papers and a game of billiards filled an hour or two, before the heat in the small brick bachelor bungalows became unbearable and all that remained to do until late afternoon was to sprawl around in "loose dishabille, reading, lounging and sleeping'. With little to occupy them most of the day, for many British soldiers boredom was the principal enemy they faced in India.
Also in the series:
Delhi - Those Times and Lives - 1
Delhi - Those Times and Lives - 2
Delhi - Those Times and Lives - 3