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Mar 2017

Place: Chawri Bazaar

One of the older parts of Delhi. The cables are in complete disarray as you can see. So glad we have government regulations on that kind of thing in North America.

Shops around Delhi seem to all be clustered by type. Different areas of the city sell very specific things, as opposed to North America where there’s stores that sell everything everywhere.

Amar Colony from the other day had streets full of wholesale dress sellers. Here there were streets of wedding card makers, saree stores, and stationary shops (pictured). Stores varied from the size of a closet to the size of two closets. The bigger ones had a table inside for clients to sit at, but most of them barely fit the shop keeps and items.

The stores are all family-run, instead of there being a mega corporation that everyone trusts. At first we couldn’t understand why businesses are this way - how can everyone stay in business in such close proximity to their competition, with barely any product differentiation? Our current theory is it’s a combination of information scarcity and the sheer number of people.

Because not everyone has smart phones, looking up the nearest store to buy item X isn’t easy. So it’s easier if you just know to go to this area of town if you want item X.

Because of the sheer number of people living here, there’s a large enough demand for everything (there’s about 10 million weddings a year?) that every store is able to get enough business. Without any product differentiation, the stores are pretty much interchangeable, so people probably go to whichever store is emptiest at the time, so everyone gets some business.

Food: Bedmin puri

The name sounds similar to pani puri for non-Hindi speakers like me, and the shape was similar but bigger, but apparently they’re not really at all related. This is made from lentils instead of wheat, and it’s usually eaten for breakfast instead of as a snack. The bread had a nice kick of spice in it and it was topped with a potato and chickpea curry, and pickled carrots.

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